PNP-12 sets up assistance centers in malls

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/9 Nov) – The Police Regional Office 12 has established police assistance centers (PACs) in various shopping malls and department stores in the region in a bid to help deter crimes and other related incidents within their premises.

Chief Supt. Benjardi Mantele, Region 12 police director, said the establishment of the PACs is part of their efforts to ensure security and provide maximum visibility in public areas within the region’s four provinces and five cities.

Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Mantele said they opened the first mall-based PAC earlier this week at the Robinsons Place shopping mall here.

The police official said he instructed the region’s provincial, city and municipal police offices and stations to also set up PACs in all shopping malls and department stores within their areas of responsibility.

This city, which is considered as the region’s center for trade and commerce, hosts three major shopping malls – Robinsons, KCC and Gaisano – and three other department stores.

Mall chain SM Supermalls is currently building a shopping mall complex here, which is considered as one of the chain’s biggest malls in Mindanao.

Koronadal City has three shopping malls; Cotabato City has one mall and two other department stores; and, the cities of Kidapawan and Tacurong have three department stores each.

Mantele said the presence of the policemen and the PACs within the malls will allow their owners to easily deal with and seek assistance from the local police.

“The presence of policemen inside the malls may also help prevent the occurrence of crimes as well as limit the movement of criminal elements,” he said.

He cited the recent shooting incidents in SM malls in Quezon City and Pampanga that left four people dead.

Mantele said the PACs will be manned by two to four uniformed police personnel, who will mainly be tasked to oversee the shopping malls’ security arrangements and provide immediate assistance to their security-related needs.

He said the policemen who will be assigned to the PACs will also help monitor the possible entry of firearms and other weapons inside the mall premises.

“They will join the private security guards in their roving duties and help inspect everything that goes into the mall,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)