Eastern Visayas is rolling out the enhanced Tourist Oriented Police for Community Order and Protection (TopCop) as more relaxed travel rules are expected to entice more tourists to visit the region’s destinations.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Eastern Visayas Regional Director Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said on Tuesday the PNP and Department of Tourism (DOT) have agreed to hold more training to raise the capability of police officers in securing tourists.
“This is timely as we are now steadily transitioning from the pre-pandemic era to adopting a new normal. As President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. sees tourism as one of the pillars in his administration, we need to do our fair share toward achieving this common goal,” Banac said in a statement.
The reopening of tourist destinations has encouraged the PNP and the DOT to revive the program, assuring foreign and local tourists of their physical safety and security.
DOT Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes said in a phone interview, since 2011, about 439 police officers in Eastern Visayas have completed the TopCop training.
They are assigned in areas with high tourism arrivals, communities with high cases of trafficking of women and children, and sites with a high number of cases involving tourists as victims or perpetrators.
“With the launching of the enhanced TopCop program, we, in the DOT, look forward to a stronger partnership with PNP in the region for a safe, secure and fun infinite escapes in Eastern Visayas,” Tiopes told the Philippine News Agency.
The comprehensive training seeks to provide basic tourism concepts and overview to police officers designated as tourist police and inculcate values in becoming effective tourism frontliners.
While the TopCop personnel will be roving in their assigned areas on specified time schedules, the PNP also established tourist assistance centers and tourist assistance desks in strategic locations all over the country where tourists can go should they need assistance. (PNA)