The President issued the directive during a meeting in Malacanang with the local government officials, business and community leaders of Region 3 and 4.
Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo cited the gains of the security measures being implemented by law enforcers in close coordination with the National Anti-Kidnapping Task Force (NAKTAF) headed by former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes.
The President asked Secretary Reyes to expand the program, that had been successful in the National Capital Region (NCR), to Regions 3 ands 4.
The President revived the NAKTAF to carry out a vigorous crackdown on high profile crimes following representations made by leaders of the ethnic Filipino-Chinese community in the wake of a resurgence of kidnapping for ransom cases mostly victimizing members of their community.
Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo said the security measures and good resolutions that arose from her meeting with NCR officials and leaders of the Filipino Chinese community were successfully carried out.
She added that members of the Filipino-Chinese community were very happy because no "major (criminal) incident" took place after that meeting.
In a press briefing, Reyes said the security measures were being implemented since last December 8.
The security measures included the installation of checkpoints in strategic places in Metro Manila, deployment of more policemen backed up by soldiers and barangay tanods for enhanced police visibility, immediate public assistance and fielding of mobile police stations.
"These security measures have been met with resounding success, warm appreciation and recognition, not only from the business community, but from the citizenry at large," Reyes said.
He said the President expanded the scope of the security measures to cover Regions 3 and 4 to prevent the criminal elements from seeking refuge outside the metropolis.
Reyes noted that the checkpoints and increased police visibility have limited the movement of the criminals. "And this is the reason we have seen this reduced number of incidents of crime," he said.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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