THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Negros Occidental is intensifying its security inspections of the sea vessels entering the province especially those coming from Mindanao.

Coast Guard Station-Bacolod Head Grade Jimmy Oliver Vingno on Thursday, May 25, said they are now on heightened alert status in the wake of the attacks of Maute terror groups in Marawi City which led to the declaration of a 60-day martial law in Mindanao.

Vingno said they have a directive from the national command to strengthen security measures and to prepare for any “diversionary tactic” from the Mindanao-based bandits.

He added that they are coordinating closely with the army and the police for intelligence monitoring operations.

Right now, sea vessels docking in the province, including Bacolod City, especially the ones coming from Mindanao are thoroughly inspected, Vingno said.

“We are checking everything, including the personnel, and for possible contraband,” he added.

Moreover, Vingno said the Coast Guard and the Philippine Navy have set up a naval blockade along the coasts in the Visayas.

“They are conducting sea borne patrol and intensifying their surveillance on sea vessels especially speedboats,” he said.

Vingno said it would be difficult for the bandits to ply towards the Visayas especially if they are on board a speedboat considering the vast water perimeters and bad weather condition.

Their only means to reach the neighboring region is only through a sea vessel which is also being closely watched by the Coast Guard, he added.

Authorities in the Negros Island Region are on full alert status following the Marawi crisis. They are also ready if the terror group will continue their atrocities outside of Mindanao.

Police Regional Office-Negros Island Region (PRO-NIR) Acting Director Edmund Gonzales said the shoreline and coastal barangays in the region are well-secured, according to Senior Inspector Armilyn Vargas, PRO-NIR public information officer.

Gonzales also ordered the “strengthening of target hardening measures, intelligence gathering and monitoring, and coastal areas patrolling,” Vargas added.