BAGUIO CITY– A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed between the City Government of Baguio, the Department of Tourism (DOT) Cordillera, and the Police Regional Office Cordillera (Procor) to enhance security measures provided to tourists in the whole region and to maintain the reputation of the summer capital as one of the safest city in Southeast Asia.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan in a late afternoon press conference on Wednesday said that tourists shall be treated as VIPs (very important persons) all the time and it is the city’s goal to secure their safety so that they would always come back.
“Let us always take care of our responsibility to maintain the reputation of our city as a peaceful city, because tourism is our front-line in achieving sustainable economy,” he said.
The tripartite MOA signing on Wednesday (July 27) will intensify the Tourist-Oriented Police for Community Order and Protection (TOP-COP) program.
The agreement states that the DOT shall be responsible in encouraging, promoting and developing tourism as a major socio-economic activity.
A large percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country is contributed by tourism, and it brings in foreign currency and generate employment in both the private and public sector.
The agreement provides for the regular conduct of activities, refresher training courses to all tourist police in order to upgrade their skills and familiarize them on the proper procedures in providing immediate police assistance to tourists.
For an effective and efficient implementation of the TOP-COP in Baguio, the tourist police shall be provided with motorcycles, bicycles, hand-held radios, communication systems and other equipment needed to carry out their duties.
Procor director Chief Supt. Rolando Nana and Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) director Sr. Supt. Ramil Saculles revealed that there used to be only 18 tourist police personnel in the city. There are now 53 in the unit.
Apart from the signing, the tourist police personnel also underwent a Skills Enhancement Seminar to enhance their capabilities in handling the sector they are primary assigned to secure and assist.
DOT-CAR Supervising Tourism Operations officer Mary Bilagot said that the seminar was conducted to retain the image of Baguio City as one of the safest cities in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia as revealed in a survey conducted by Numbeo.
“We are conducting this seminar to support, strengthen and to ensure peace and order since they doing their duties for the community and constituents. The training module will enhance their skills providing security to local and foreign tourists.”
Part of the training is a site visitation to the different destinations in the city, to apprise the tourist police of the basic information they should know about the place. This will allow them to provide the correct information and answer queries from the tourists./PNA