Cops on Dinagyang duties banned from using cellphones, smoking

Lt. Colonel Mark Virgil I. Ibardolaza, PRO-6 regional pastoral officer, blesses members of the more than 7,000-person security team for Dinagyang 2023 during a sendoff ceremony in Iloilo City Tuesday. (J.P. Rendon photo)

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Use of mobile phones, which are considered modern man’s constant companion, is a no-no for police officers who will render duties for Dinagyang Festival.

Brigadier General Leo Francisco, Western Visayas police chief, made the pronouncement during the send-off ceremony of security forces who will render duties for the festival.

The ceremony held at the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand on Tuesday, January 16, was attended by more than 7,000 Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 personnel, along with other security forces, who will be deployed for Dinagyang.

“Avoid using cellphones. Bawal magdala ng cellphone,” Francisco said, as he also reminded them against smoking or vaping.

Francisco said that a person has the tendency to lose focus and concentration on their work if they are using mobile phones.

He said that a dedicated Red Team will inspect if a policeman is carrying a mobile phone with him.

“I have also counter-intelligence police to check on their compliance,” he said

With counter-intelligence operatives doing their job, “I am certain na kapag may nahuli, positive talaga na gumagamit ng cellphone habang naka-duty,” Francisco said.

He added that police officers should be prepared for any eventuality and “if they have a cellphone with them, they would get tempted to use social media apps or call their friends and loved ones. Hindi na sila nakatingin sa kalye, sa cellphone na.”

For emergency purposes, Francisco said police have two-way or portable radios that they could use to communicate.

The only personnel allowed to use cellphones are commanders who were previously given mobile phones for official use.

“We know who they are and their numbers,” Francisco said.

Officers caught violating the cellphone ban will be sanctioned.

“We would be filing administrative cases against them for conduct unbecoming of a police officer and insubordination,” Francisco said.

He said that they are studying if such policy would be implemented even on ordinary duty days.

It can be noted that previous commanders have also discouraged police officers on patrol to use mobile phones.

The public is also encouraged to send information on police using mobile phones while on Dinagyang duties.

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