Department of Tourism hails revival of tourist cops
Manila, Philippines — Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat hailed on Friday the reactivation of the Tourist Police units, saying it would hasten the tourism industry’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Puyat’s statement came in the wake of the announcement of Philippine National Police Chief Archie Gamboa that the Tourist-Oriented Police for Community Order and Protection (TOPCOP) would be revived in areas where quarantine restrictions have been eased.
Travel for tourists and non-tourists alike will be safer with TOPCOP strictly enforcing health protocols and guidelines in areas under the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ), the tourism chief said.
The Inter-Agency Task-Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has eased the quarantine restrictions in some areas of the country.
In addition to the enforcement of the proper observance of health protocols, the Tourist Police will also provide added security operations for local tourists and establishments and respond to tourist-related security and safety issues.
General Gamboa also said that the TOPCOP will strengthen the existing Tourist Police Assistance Desks (TPAD) around the country.
In 2019, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed by Secretary Puyat to renew the partnership between the DOT and the PNP with regard to the training of tourist police.
Under the 2019 Integrated TOPCOP program, the DOT will train police personnel on the basic principles of tourist safety and the Filipino brand of service. The modules also include lessons on tourism awareness. Last year, 719 police personnel graduated from the program.
Training sessions are mounted by the Office of Industry Manpower Development (DOT-OIMD) and the DOT Regional Offices in collaboration with the PNP, and participating local government units (LGUs).