Philippines strengthens tourist security

QUEZON CITY, the Philippines, 31 March 2022: As Philippine tourism gears up for recovery, the Department of Tourism (DOT) joins hands with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to beef up security in tourist destinations.

Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat commented: “We welcome this latest collaboration with our country’s police force and drug enforcement agency to provide greater protection against the illicit trafficking of dangerous drugs in tourist destinations.”

Branded as Tourism Operation Protection Against Illegal Drugs or the TOP-AID, the latest partnership between the DOT, PDEA and PNP is a follow-through to the TOPCOP programme, the tourism security force assisting in maintaining peace and order in areas that attract high tourism traffic. TOPCOP was established in 2011 and has trained 5,457 tourist police and put up 365 Tourist Police Assistance Centers (TPAC) in strategic locations across the country.

Under the new TOP-AID MOA, between the DOT, PDEA and PNP, the parties agree to cooperate and assist in ensuring the safety and security of tourists in DOT identified tourist destinations.

On the part of PDEA, they have agreed to deploy an appropriate workforce to TOP-AID centres in DOT identified tourist destinations.

Tourist assistance and complaint desks will focus on drug-related concerns. They will also lead an information drive on the “Drug-Free Workplace Programme” while assisting in drug clearing operations, including apprehending anyone engaged in illegal drug activities in coordination with the PNP and concerned local government units.

(Source: DOT Philippines)