Safety assured despite terror threat

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Sunday, June 29, 2014


DAVAO CITY (Updated) -- Government security forces have been coordinating with each other to thwart possible terrorist attack, particularly in southern Philippines, Malacañang assured on Sunday.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that all intelligence units were alerted to verify reports about the terror threat in Mindanao.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte also discussed on Sunday the new terror threat in Mindanao and the preemptive security measures needed to impose by local authorities.

The meeting was held at the Marco Polo Hotel around 5 p.m. Sunday.

Duterte earlier said that he was cautioned by President Benigno Aquino III about the possible terrorist attack in Davao City or other parts of Mindanao, particularly the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Koronadal, and Kidapawan.

"Nananawagan ako sa mga tao para mga miyembro ng Barangay Peace Keeping Action Teams (BPAT) kasama ang mga barangay officials at iba pang volunteer organizations; tulung-tulong nating sugpuin ang kriminalidad sa ating paligid. Naniniwala ako na sa pagtutulungan ng mga local na opisyal, PNP, at taumbayan, matutugunan natin ang mga ganitong security threats," Roxas said.

BPATs are volunteer organizations comprised of barangay tanods and other individuals who serve as a network of anonymous informants for the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Roxas also said he instructed the PNP, Bureau of Fire Protection and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology to be alert and ensure the safety and security of people in Davao City and its neighboring provinces.

PNP spokesperson Police Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac confirmed reports of a possible terror threat in the region, particularly in Davao City.

"Information received with high reliability, revealed a possible terrorist threat to the peace and security in Davao Region, particularly in Davao City. We could not, however, divulge any further details of said reports received so as not to compromise ongoing security operations by both the PNP and the AFP in these areas," Sindac said.

He added that Roxas has already alerted all police forces in Mindanao through the PNP High Command to beef-up security operations against possible infiltration of suspected members of said reported threat groups.

"Similarly, all six Police Regional Offices in Mindanao remain on constant alert conditions to ensure their operational readiness and capabilities to respond to all possible contingencies," he said.

He said operatives in areas alerted will initiate preemptive security measures in the form of aggressive foot and mobile patrols, conduct of intensified checkpoints and gun check operations, including rigid inspections in land, sea and air transport terminals, commercial centers, places of convergence and vital installations.

Duterte appealed to Dabawenyos, as well as local and foreign tourists to cooperate with the authorities.

Sindac also appealed the public to cooperate.

"We urge everyone to give us any information that would be of help to the police and to our ongoing security operations," he said.

Despite the reported threat, Coloma said the public has nothing to worry about.

"Wala po tayong dapat ikabahala hinggil sa sitwasyon na ‘yan. ‘Yan ay normal lamang na precaution at information-sharing," he said.

"We have more than enough forces to secure Davao City and its neighboring towns and communities," he added. (Arianne Caryl N. Casas of Sun.Star Davao/SDR/Third Anne Peralta/Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 30, 2014.

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