DOT, PNP, PDEA to strentgthen security in tourist destinations

MANILA --- As Philippine tourism moves towards its much-anticipated recovery, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has joined hands with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to beef up security in tourist destinations across the country.


Tourism Development Planning Undersecretary Woodrow Maquiling, Jr. represented Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, who was on official business, in a ceremony at the PDEA head office, Quezon City recently.


Together with Undersecretary Maquiling were PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva and PNP chief, Gen. Dionardo B. Carlos, who co-signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the PDEA and PNP, respectively.


“We welcome this latest collaboration with our country’s police force and drug enforcement agency in an aim to provide greater deterrence and protection against the illicit trafficking of dangerous drugs in tourist destinations,” Puyat said in her message.


Branded as Tourism Operation Protection Against Illegal Drugs or the TOP-AID, the latest partnership is a follow-through to the TOPCOP program, the tourism security force assisting in maintaining peace and order within areas of 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, the DOT, PDEA, and PNP agreed to cooperate and render assistance to ensure further protection, safety, and security of tourists in DOT-identified tourist destinations.


On the part of PDEA, it agreed to deploy appropriate manpower to TOP-AID centers in DOT-identified tourist destinations. These tourist assistance and complaint desks will focus on drug-related concerns.


PDEA will also lead an information drive on the drug-free workplace while assisting in drug clearing operations including apprehending any person engaged in illegal drug activities in coordination with the PNP and concerned local government units.


Meanwhile, other than identifying key tourist destinations with high-tourism traffic where TOP-AID centers may be put up, the DOT will also spearhead the training of these personnel on Tourism Awareness and the signature Filipino brand of service and hospitality that is world-renowned. (PR)

TOURISM PARTNERSHIP (L-R) PNP Chief, Gen. Dionardo B. Carlos; PDEA Director General, Undersecretary Wilkins M. Villanueva; and DOT Undersecretary Woodrow Maquiling Jr., during the ceremonial signing of the memorandum of agreement in Quezon City on March 14, 2022. The partnership seeks to ensure further protection, safety, and security of tourists in DOT-identified destinations. (Photo by DOT)