A POLICE regional official confirmed on Monday, February 21, that Cagayan de Oro City, along with Iligan and Ozamiz cities and the whole province of Misamis Oriental, have been placed on red alert due to terror threats.
Superintendent Lemuel Gonda, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-Northern Mindanao, said the region has been on red alert since last week after a series of information were received hinting of supposed terror plots by extremist organizations like the Maute terror group.
"Last week pa ta nag full alert after pag-declare og (We are on full alert since last week after a declaration of) all out war," Gonda said.
He added all areas of convergence like malls, bus terminals, and major landmarks among others, remained major concerns for law enforcement and security authorities.
Gonda said the police are still validating the series of information citing that the police always take all information it receives seriously.
The PRO-Northern Mindanao spokesman said the information kept on coming in since the government forces attacked the Maute group in Lanao area.
"Sugod atong attack sa Lanao, sunod-sunod na ang mga information sa threats nga basin og mobalos busa constant atong reminders sa kapolisan nga magbantay (Since the attack in Lanao, there are continuous threats of a reprisal so our reminders to police are constant),"Gonda said.
Gonda explained that information reports are different from intelligence reports as the former are raw and unverified data while the latter are positive information validated by the intelligence community.
The provincial and city police officers have been reminded to implement the target hardening security measures to discourage attacks,
The Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) has beefed up the security plans and police visibility in all vital installations.
Cocpo spokesperson Chief Inspector Mardy Hortillosa II said because of the declaration, all personnel will not be allowed to take their vacation leaves to ensure that enough men could counter and intimidate groups from carrying out terror acts and other crimes.
Hortillosa said they are also seeking the help of the public whom police call on to reports suspicious-looking men especially in areas where a large numbers of people gather.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 22, 2017.