THE military and police in Eastern Visayas have launched a 24/7 joint checkpoints and visibility patrols following a declaration of a state of emergency on account of lawless violence.
Effective September 3, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Ronald de la Rosa directed all police units, back-to-back with the Army in the country, to launch the round-the-clock security patrols.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of lawless violence hours after the bombing of a night market in Davao City in September 2 that killed at least 14 people and injured 70 others. Several reports attribute the bombing to the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group.
In Eastern Visayas, the Army’s 8th Infantry Division (ID) and the Police Regional Office started to conduct joint Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)-PNP security patrols and checkpoints to secure the people, vital facilities and infrastructures against the Abu Sayyaf and other terrorist groups.
First Lieutenant Cherry Junia, chief of the 8ID Public Affairs Office, said both the military and the police in the region conducted a “coordinating conference” to come up with measures that will ensure the safety and well-being of the people of Eastern Visayas.
Security protocols in public places such as bus terminals, airports, seaports, commercial centers, and places of worship were also enhanced, Junia said.
The Army chief in Eastern Visayas, Major General Jet Velarmino, said the 8ID also deployed sufficient troops to augment the PNP in their foot and mobile visibility patrols, checkpoints and inspections.
Additional troops and K9 bomb sniffing dogs were also augmented to the Philippine Coast Guard and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines in all seaports and airports in their area of responsibilities, respectively.
Velarmino appealed to the public to cooperate and understand. “Your Army and police and other law enforcement in Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) will continue to do our mandate of protecting and serving the people of Eastern Visayas,” he said.
PNP-Eastern Visayas led by Chief Superintendent Elmer Beltejar, for his part, assured the public that the PNP is on top of the situation and that no terror threat had been detected so far in Eastern Visayas.
The PNP also asked the public not to speculate anything and not pass rumors to avoid confusion and panic. It encouraged the public to be vigilant at all times. (Ricky Bautista/Sunnex)