Oro cops on alert vs terrorists

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Thursday, April 24, 2014


THE Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) has raised its alert level to red after intelligence reports of terror threats have resurfaced in the past few days.

“What we have are raw data, reports from the intelligence community which are being validated by the intelligence circle. But whether or not this is fully validated, this report should be treated seriously. We cannot be complacent on our part in making certain the July 2013 bombing would never again happen in this city,” said Chief Inspector Lemuel Gonda, Cocpo chief on operations.

Gonda said that since the 2013 bombing, the Cocpo has made measures to ensure security for the city.

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“Since the tragic incident last year we are now imposing strict preventive measures. We’ve issued memos to our police personnel in the different stations to harden their security measures due to the threat of terrorism,” said Gonda.

Gonda revealed “Oplan I Catch’em” is in effect.

“Our city director has issued the operational plan for the police presence and patrol visibility in populated areas such as churches, shopping malls, bus terminals, among other identified possible areas, where this unlawful attack might happen as well as constant coordination with businesses and hotels or inns that they might notice of having suspicious personalities,” he said.

Gonda added that the upcoming anniversary of the National Democratic Front (NDF) and the reports of those who are going to disrupt the peace process contributed to the level of alert they are now implementing.

Superintendent Aaron Mandia, of the City Public Safety Company (CPSC), explained that their team has been on the constant surveillance.

“We are constantly monitoring the situation with our Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat), Explosive and Ordnance Division (EOD) and Motorcycle Anti Street Crimes Operatives (Masco). We have increased our presence along the streets of the city. Right now we have 10 motorcycle teams roving with our mobile patrol vehicles. Our two bomb-sniffing dogs from our K-9 unit are also deployed to strategic points,” said Mandia.

He also expressed optimism in keeping with the directive as the streets are being augmented by additional personnel.

“We have an additional of 84 personnel from the Regional Public Safety Company posted in different street corners in the city closely coordinating with our different police stations. Soldiers from the Army’s 58th Infantry Battalion of the 4th Infantry Division are also giving us additional personnel,” he said.

Captain Christian Uy, spokesman of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division, confirmed the threat assessment of Cocpo.

“Well, right now our intelligence units are working closely in coordination with our police. Our resources in the division will only act in support of our police. Over all, the police will be the one who will spearhead and finalize the assessment if in case a situation would arise. If they say they would need more soldiers and firepower on the ground then we will support them with what we’ve got,” said Uy.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 24, 2014.

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