The Botolan, Zambales public order and safety cluster (POPS) composed of various national government agencies, municipal government, liga ng mga barangay and civil-society organizations, tackled the municipality’s continued efforts to maintain peace and order and public safety during its full council meeting on March 18, 2021 at the Covered Court of Polytechnic College of Botolan, Barangay Batonlapoc, Botolan, Zambales. Vice Mayor Doris D. Ladines welcomed the participants and called the meeting to order — directing the start of discussion for the items in the meeting’s POPS agenda. In the undertaking, the 1st quarter 2021 accomplishments and updates on criminality, anti-illegal drugs, COVID-19 response, as well as the implementation plan for the upcoming semana sanata of the municipal police station were discussed by Chief of Police Bryan Christopher Baybayan. Whereas, set of activities of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) for the fire prevention month was presented by Fire Marshal Salvador Espares, as well as their office’s proposals for a safer municipality with regard to fire prevention. Matters on anti-insurgency, specifically the municipality’s accomplishments for the retooled community support program (RCSP) were shared by Municipal Local Government Operations Officer (MLGOO) Shieralyn B. Esteban. Moreover, 1Lt Oliver Norman Adlaon of the 33rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion apprised the body with the recent developments and updates on the movement of communist terrorists in Zambales. Lastly, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Andy Divino presented the municipality’s efforts on climate change mitigation and the local contingency plan relative to the Alert Level 1 status of Mount Pinatubo. Mayor Doris acknowledged the concerns and proposals presented by the speakers and provided instructions to the department heads concerned to address the same and provide the appropriate intervention, especially with the contingency plan if the Mt. Pinatubo situation escalates. In addition, Mayor Maniquiz shared that the municipality has recorded a significant increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases as of March 18, 2021 compared to the last month. With this, she shared that stricter quarantine protocols and curfew hours shall take effect to contain the spread of the virus. She instructed the Punong Barangays, as first responders, to not let their guards down and be vigilant and firm in maintaining the strict observance to health protocols and pertinent policies within their communities. The mayor stressed that following minimum health protocols such as social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, and avoiding big gatherings remain vital in keeping the virus from spreading —emphasizing the call to impose stricter rules on gatherings due to the COVID-19 spike in the municipality.# By: LGOO VI Shieralyn B. Esteban