THE Provincial Government of Negros Occidental is eyeing the creation of a Joint Task Group with various government agencies to monitor the possible entry of suspected terrorists.
Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator Ma. Lina Sanogal on Tuesday, April 11, said the plan is in line with the Australian and United States travel advisories telling their citizens to take extra precaution against kidnapping threats in Central Visayas.
Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division Commanding Officer Jon Aying suggested forming the Joint Task Group during the Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting on Monday.
The Joint Task Group will be headed by the governor to direct a 24-hour monitoring. It will be created through an executive order after the Holy Week.
“Although we are not covered by the travel advisory, we want to preempt any possible entry of suspected terrorists in the province especially that we have open seas and we are near to Mindanao,” Sanogal said.
She also appealed to residents in coastal areas to immediately report presence of suspicious individuals to the authorities.
“We want to protect the general welfare of the public as well as investments and tourism that’s why through the Joint Task Group, a 24-hour monitoring could be undertaken all over the province,” Sanogal said.
She added that this Holy Week, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and the Provincial Advisory Council are on alert status to immediately respond to any emergencies.
United States Embassy in Manila warned Americans to be careful in traveling to Central Visayas, citing “unsubstantiated yet credible information” that terrorist groups may attempt to conduct kidnappings there.
Read: US Embassy warns citizens against travel to Cebu, Bohol
The Australian Embassy in Manila also released a travel advisory on Monday, warning Australian citizens to exercise a "high degree of caution" over threats of possible kidnappings in Central Visayas.