GUIMARAS in Western Visayas has been placed on red alert status to ensure peace and order in the province following reports that terror groups will stage attacks in key areas in the country on June 30.
Police said though that those reports are subject for validation, but they warned the public to be vigilant.
Governor Samuel Gumarin issued the red alert declaration on Thursday, June 22, after consultation with the Office of the Vice Governor, members of the peace and order council, Department of Interior and Local Government, and Municipal Governments.
With the status, all barangay officials, watchmen (tanods), and officials of five Guimaras towns were directed to "closely monitor any suspicious acts or movements in their respective areas of jurisdiction that may compromise the peace and order situation of the island-province."
Gumarin also advised the public, including government and non government agencies, to stay calm and vigilant in their surroundings and report any suspicious acts to the nearest police station and government officials.
On Wednesday, June 21, an emergency meeting was held to identify issues and concerns in preparation for the creation of a peace development program with corresponding proactive strategies and measures in addressing terror threats.
Some of the priority steps identified were the empowerment of the barangays through trainings of village police to be integrated in the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan, and the establishment of an effective communication system.
An ID System for residents of Guimaras and installation of closed circuit televisions cameras (CCTVs) in all ports in the island were eyed to maintain security.
The Province also considered purchasing K9 dogs and deploying sentinels and police officers in villages.
The municipalities were also encouraged to create an ordinance requiring all business establishments to provide CCTVs as video surveillance mechanism.
A series of public consultation and workshop has also been lined up for the planning and operationalization of the peace development program, specifically the creation of the task groups that will lead this thrust.
On Friday, June 23, a briefing and public consultation will be held with the barangay officials, and on June 27, an action planning will be conducted with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as the resource agency.
Guimaras has been declared insurgency-free since 2008 and was conferred the Internal Peace and Security Operation by the AFP in 2014. (PR)