DUMAGUETE CITY — Twenty-five members of the Tourist Police Unit (TPU) of the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (NOPPO) will attend the Tourist-Oriented Police for Community Order and Protection (TOPCOP) in nearby Siquijor province in early October.
The training is spearheaded by the Department of Tourism (DOT) in coordination with the Philippine National Police and the local government.
Just recently, the DOT and the PNP signed a memorandum of understanding strengthening the safety and protection of domestic and foreign tourists through the TOPCOP program.
Provincial Tourism Officer Myla Mae Abellana on Monday said this is a welcome move for the province, considering the continuous influx of domestic and foreign tourists in Negros Oriental.
A total of 50 police personnel will attend the TOPCOP training, with the other half of the number coming from Siquijor province, host of the said activity.
Abellana said most of the tourist police are deployed in Dumaguete, being the capital city although they have regular schedules to visit the other tourist destinations in the province.
She admitted, though, that the TOPCOP trainees may not be enough to cover all the tourist attractions even as she hopes that in the near future, there will be another training solely for Negros Oriental.
The training also comes at a time when the provincial government is gearing up for the yearly staging of the Buglasan Festival of Festivals in the middle of October.
Meanwhile, OIC provincial police director, Col. Rizalito Gapas said he is supporting the TOPCOP training and also hopes that the DOT will also schedule the same training in Dumaguete City.
Gapas also admitted that one of the problems usually faced by the PNP is the reassignment of tourist police personnel to other police stations when they are needed the most in areas with dense tourist population.
Over the weekend, NOPPO tourist cops led by Maj. Varie A. Villanobos, and Philippine Coast Guard personnel here trained on scuba diving. (PNA – By Mary Judaline Partlow)