THE Davao City Police Office (DCPO) has activated and intensified its Oplan Defense to secure the entire city following a powerful explosion during a Catholic Mass inside the Mindanao State University-Marawi’s gym last December 2, 2023.
Through the directive of DCPO Director Police Colonel Alberto Lupaz, all 19 police stations will lead the Oplan Defense which aims to conduct restrictive vehicle checks and border controls.
According to DCPO spokesperson Captain Hazel Tuazon, the agency has already collaborated with other government and security agencies particularly the Task Force Davao (TFD) to maintain peace and order.
“Nakig-alayon na ta sa ubang mga ahensya para ma-maintain nato ang kalinaw sa tibook syudad. Dili ta mabalaka kay nag-instruct na ta sa atoang kapulisan nga maging high alert especially karon nga ang dakbayan padayon nga gasaulog og Pasko Fiesta (We have coordinated with other agencies to maintain peace and order throughout the city. Let us not worry because we have instructed our police to be on high alert especially now that the city is celebrating the Christmas Fiesta),” Tuazon said.
The official added that the city remains in full alert after the incident by deploying some of its personnel in major Catholic churches and mosques and by conducting a one-entrance-and-exit policy in these worship places.
“We have been in full alert status po after sa incident, strengthening our Davao defense system through checkpoints sa border control and other areas, and presence sa mga simbahan (police visibility in churches)” (We have been in full alert status since the incident, strengthening our Davao defense system through checkpoints in border control and other areas, and presence in churches (police visibility in churches)," Tuazon further added.
In an AFP-PNP press briefing on Wednesday morning, December 6, Mark Anthony Tito, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry “Agila” Division, affirmed continuous security monitoring in their jurisdiction.
“Kami diria sa atoang ahensya, hugot ang amoang monitoring gumikan sa pagpabomba nga nahitabo didtoa [sa MSU-Marawi]. Strict ang seguridad sa atoang area of responsibility kay dili ta musugot nga mahitabo to sa atoang lugar (Here in our agency, our monitoring is strict due to the bombing that happened there [in MSU-Marawi]. The security in our area of responsibility is strict because we will not allow this to happen in our area),” he said.
Oplan Defense is DCPO’s campaign against criminality and terrorism. It is one of the preemptive measures to secure residents and visitors of the area.
As of press writing, the Police Provincial Office of Lanao del Sur (PPO-Lanao del Sur) has created a Special Investigation Task Group-MSU Marawi (SITG-MSU Marawi) to hasten the investigation process as they have now identified two persons of interest (POI) linked to DI-Maute group, a radical Islamic terrorist connected to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).
Based on the updated death toll, the blast killed four people and injured more than 50 individuals composed of students, academic professionals, and members of the Catholic ministries. DEF