Southern Leyte cops still on guard vs terrorists spillover

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte -- The police provincial office here is strengthening their coordination with residents in coastal villages to prevent the entry of criminal elements and terror groups.

Aside from deploying personnel to ports, the Southern Leyte Police Office is also stepping up its information gathering in coordination with village officials, said Police Provincial Director Warren De Leon.

Considering the proximity of the province to Mindanao and presence of ports for Bohol and Cebu-bound ships, they have to be vigilant to ensure the spillover of terrorists, said De Leon.

The ports of Liloan and San Ricardo towns are the gateway for travelers and motorists to and from Mindanao.

“Generally, the situation in Southern Leyte is peaceful because we have intensified police operation, checkpoints and police visibility, particularly at entry points in the province from Mindanao,” De Leon said.

He confirmed receiving intelligence report that some terrorists have been planning to enter Southern Leyte, prompting the police to alert residents and fishermen in coastal communities and ask them to report presence of suspicious persons.

He said the provincial police office aims to maintain the status of Southern Leyte as one of the provinces with low crime rate in Eastern Visayas.

The province has a crime rate of 12 percent, next to Northern Samar, which has nine percent.

Aside from securing Southern Leyte against terrorists, the police have also intensified their drive against illegal drugs in the province's 18 towns and one city.

Most illegal drug traders in the province had either surrendered or arrested in police operations, said De Leon.

Cebu has been tagged as the main source of illegal drugs in the province, with the narcotics shipped through the port of Bato, Leyte. Distribution is concentrated in more urban areas of Maasin City and Sogod town. (PNA)
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