Cebuanos asked to be vigilant amid Marawi siege
Stay alert and vigilant.
Cebuanos are advised to be on guard as government troopers go after members of the Maute Group in Marawi City that started on Tuesday afternoon.
While there are no direct threats to Cebu, Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), said it is better to be ready than sorry.
In the wake of the attacks by the Maute terror group in Marawi, the entire Philippine National Police was placed under full alert status.
“Expect all police units to implement target-strengthening measures (to secure the police stations and camps from attacks), intensify intelligence monitoring and conduct more checkpoints,” he said in a phone interview on Wednesday.
The Police Regional Office in Eastern Visayas (PRO-8) is also intensifying the conduct of checkpoints and patrols in the wake of what happened in Marawi.
At least two soldiers and a policeman were so far killed in clashes with members of the Maute terror groups in Marawi City.
The threat in Marawi prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to put entire Mindanao under martial rule. The President was also contemplating to extend it to the Visayas, including Cebu, and even Luzon to protect Filipinos from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) web of terror.
Taliño said PRO-7 is willing to send police teams to Marawi to help government troopers fight the terrorists.
“We can send an augmentation force there, but we have to wait for a directive from the (PNP) national headquarters,” he said.
Like in previous years, Taliño said they are coordinating with the Muslim community in Cebu to help avert terror attacks.
“We’ve been regularly doing that. We are asking them to support us by helping monitor new faces in their respective areas. The Muslim community here is very cooperative,” he said.
Taliño also appealed to the public to help authorities by reporting any suspicious-looking persons and unusual activities.
Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III expressed hopes that Cebu would be completely safe from terrorists.
“The terror attack in Marawi is scary. It’s just so sad. I hope that will not happen in Cebu,” he said.
“General Taliño assured us that Cebu and Bohol are safe. But as I always emphasized, we cannot let our guard down. We have to be watchful all the time. We cannot afford to be complacent in these trying times,” he added.
Malo Manonggiring, director of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos in Central Visayas, said he was surprised and saddened by the terror attack in Marawi.
“I did not see it coming. I am really shocked. Innocent people have to suffer by people who claim to be Muslims but do not act like one. They are destroying our country,” he told Cebu Daily News over the phone.
Manonggiring promised to help authorities to prevent terrorists from entering Cebu and the rest of Central Visayas.
“What happened in Marawi should not happen in Cebu. And I believe they will have difficult time coming here because of the intense security measures being implemented,” he said.
“We just have to be alert at all times. Let us be careful,” he added.
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