WITH the security threats that Davao City is facing, the military-led Joint Task Force Haribon (JTFH) said that they are intensifying their intelligence and information gathering to deter terrorist groups.
Brigadier General Gilbert Gapay, JTFH commander, said that they have already undertaken several efforts to counter terrorism in the city.
Among others, with the continued operation of the Maute Group, who is eyed to be responsible for the Roxas Night Market bombing last September 2, Gapay said that they have already initiated a proactive strategy.
They are monitoring the terrorist groups and trying to neutralize them in their areas before they could enter the city.
“Hindi na natin paabutin sa borders and boundaries at hindi na natin papasukin dito sa mega Davao kaya don palang sa area nila, i-neutralize na natin sila,” Gapay said.
In order to track these groups, therefore, they improved the intelligence aspect to monitor the activities and possible plan of the terrorist.
Also, part of it is the active participation of the community in reporting the suspicious individuals.
Gapay said that since the city has been hosting several national and international events, the law enforcers have also enhanced their security measures to ensure the safety of the delegates and the people, and also since the president has been coming back and forth here.
“The area of the city is really booming with investments ironically yon din ang naging reason kung bakit nagiging target itong terrorism,” he said.
The JTFH is composed of Task Force Davao, Task Force Samal, Philippine Navy, Philippine Air Force, and the Tactical Operations Group.
They have also equipped their personnel with capabilities to quickly respond to threats since there is now the incorporation of naval and air components for faster response.
“Na-enhance ito kasi dati TFD lang ang sole responsible for this kind of threats but right now, because the threat has also been increase so kailangan din natin ng proactive response dito and greater capabilities,” he said.
Gapay also sees the importance of public awareness in order to address terrorism since security is everyone's responsibility, thus they have launched several awareness programs to inform the public.
“We have been engaging different sectors, the business sector, the LGUs and of course yong ibang sectors particularly don sa resort owners doon sa Samal, the youth, LGUs and even mga IPs. We have been indoctrinating them sa schools,” he said.
Right now, Task Force Davao has already responded to more than 70 unattended packages and baggage which means that the public is already aware of the proper actions to do when these threats happened.
“We have been receiving reports and we are glad that the level of awareness is being raised,” he said.