CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) will create more tourist police assistance centers in the province this year.
Senior Supt. Clifford Gairanod, CPPO police chief, said that this was part of his proposed local anti-criminality plan for 2016, which he presented before members of the Cebu Provincial Peace and Order Council during last Friday’s meeting.
Gairanod said there is a need to create a separate office headed by a distinct tourist police officer who focuses on his or her own units within towns and cities under the provincial government.
“I don’t know if the rest of the tourist police in the province are trained or even have uniforms,” he said.
He cited Republic Act No. 9593 or the Philippine Tourism Act of 2009, which provides that the Philippine National Police shall establish a Tourism Security Force to assist in maintaining peace and order within areas of high tourism traffic.
A tourist police assistance desk office shall also be established in those areas.
He, however, said he has yet to determine the areas where to put the additional centers.
He cited as an example for the province’s planned centers the Tourist Police Assistance Center in Sitio Buyong, Barangay Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City, which he helped create.
The center has an office which welcomes tourists who would need police assistance. It also has its own detention cell.
Close to 20 police officers man the center, which covers tourist destinations around the area like Tambuli Resort and Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort.
He said that tourist police have the same nature of work with regular police officers except that they should have specialized skills and training.
He said there is a need to train the province’s tourist police officers on how to adequately respond to tourists’ needs and how to act during medical emergencies and disasters, among others.
“It’s fine that we have existing tourist police. There is just a need to enhance their capabilities,” he said.
Moalboal town in the south and Bantayan Island in the north are among the areas with tourist police officers in Cebu province.