THE City Government of Naga, the Naga City Police Office (NCPO), and the Department of Tourism (DOT) in the Bicol Region launched on Tuesday, July 12, the Tourist-Oriented Police for Community Order and Protection program (TOPCOP).
The program, which is being established nationwide by way of partnership between the Philippine National Police and the Department of Tourism, is intended to ensure the safety and security of tourists while enjoying the city’s must-see destinations.
DOT-5 Regional Director Herbie Aguas said the formation of tourism police assures foreign and domestic tourists that it’s safe and more fun visiting the different tourist attractions in this part of the country and other top destinations in Bicol.
“If the tourists feel safe, they will keep on coming back, uulit at babalik and babalik pa sila,” Aguas said as he mentioned the increasing tourist arrivals in the city and the Bicol Region when the country started again to open up the tourism industry in February 2022.
According to surveys conducted by the LGU’s Arts, Culture, and Tourism Office headed by Alec Francis Santos, the top concern of tourists when choosing a destination is safety and security.
The creation of the tourist police unit is a direct response to that concern. By having a dedicated police unit for Naga’s tourism industry, the city can expect a safer environment for both foreign and local visitors. This is crucial since tourism is one of Naga’s economic pillar and is responsible for generating much needed jobs and livelihood.
Initially, there are 21 police personnel who were tapped by the LGU’s Arts, Culture, and Tourism Office for the TOPCOP in collaboration with the NCPO led by Col. Nelson Pacalso.
He said that the city government of Naga is on the right track when it decided to adopt the TOPCOP like in Calaguas Island in the municipality of Vinzons in Camarines Norte and in Donsol, Sorsogon that takes pride with its Butanding interaction and festival.
The tourism official was elated upon learning that LGU Naga in partnership with the Philippine National Police is planning to conduct more trainings for PNP personnel who wish to join the TOPCOP.
“The idea [of conducting training for tourist police] will provide us a prepared venue where we can arrange an ideal benchmarking with regards to the adoption of the [TOPCOP] program by other LGUs,” he said. (Jason B. Neola)