MAUTE PHOTOS UP IN PUBLIC PLACES IN CEBU
Photos will help.
With this in mind, the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) yesterday released the individual photograph of about 90 members of the Maute terror group, hoping to get help from the community to fast-track the arrest of the notorious militant group.
“We want to involve the public and make them aware who these terrorists are. We don’t want them to invade Cebu City and perform atrocities (here), as they have done in some parts of Mindanao,” said Chief Insp. Christopher Navida, head of the Cebu City Intelligence Branch, in an interview yesterday.
The photographs of the Maute Group members came from the Philippine National Police headquarters in Quezon City, and the participation of each of the suspect in the terror acts have been validated, according to Navida.
The photos of the Maute members were taken prior to the siege in Marawi and, therefore, it is not known now how many or who among them had died in the intense fighting in Marawi City, explained Navida.
The release of the photos are mainly intended to ensure that should some of them have escaped from Marawi by mingling with civilians who had fled from the city under siege, they would be recognized in the areas where they had fled to.
Navida said they have no directive yet from Camp Crame if the information involving the Maute terrorists will come with cash rewards.
Copies of the photographs of the Maute terror group members were distributed to all police stations and the security officers of all the hotels and pension houses in Cebu City and other parts of the country.
They will also be disseminated in bus and jeepney terminals, churches, police checkpoints and other public places to notify the people regarding the identities of the suspects.
Navida said the 90 members of the Maute Group could just be roaming around in Mindanao since they have no updates yet if they have been neutralized by government troops retaking Marawi City from the Islamic State–inspired terror group.
As of Saturday, June 3, at least 120 extremists, 36 soldiers and 19 civilians have died, 10 days since the firefight in Marawi City started, said Col. Jo-ar Hererra, spokesperson of the Army’s 1st Infantry “Tabak” Division, in a report.
President Duterte placed the whole Mindanao under martial rule on May 23, a day after Maute militants went on a rampage in the city soon after they learned that state troops were out to arrest their leader, Isnilon Hapilon, who is also a leader of the dreaded bandit group Abu Sayyaf.
The President has also announced he might extend the martial law to the Visayas and Luzon regions to stop terrorists from sowing violence in other parts of the country.
Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), said they were hoping to get the public’s support in arresting or neutralizing Maute elements.
“The purpose is to let the public aware of the members of the Maute. We advise the people to report immediately to proper authorities any identified member in the (photo) gallery,” he said.
Col. Medel Aguilar, assistant chief of the Unified Command Staff for Civil Military Operations of the Armed Forces’ Central Command, asked the people to be on guard as terrorism remains a threat, not just in Mindanao but anywhere in the country.
“The terrorist threat is always there but not imminent. We just want our people to be vigilant,” he said in a text message to CDN.
Navida called on the public to immediately report to authorities suspicious-looking persons and unusual activities to counter plans to sow terror in Cebu City and other parts of Central Visayas.
Not in Cebu yet
“So far, they (Maute terror group members) have not arrived in Cebu City. We continue monitoring nonetheless,” he said.
The public was advised to contact the Cebu City police through 231-0018 or 09985986269 in case they notice any of those in the list of terrorists.
“Please inform us immediately if you see those people on our list so we could validate the information and do interventions if necessary,” Navida said.
He said they are also coordinating with other intelligence units and agencies in Mindanao to inform them in case the terrorists are monitored going up to the Visayas region.
“The distribution of these pictures serves as a precautionary measure. We don’t want what happened in some parts of Mindanao to occur in Cebu City,” the police official said.
Last Friday, Senior Supt. Joel Doria, director of CCPO, convened security managers of the different hotels and pension houses after a gunman went on a rampage that left him and at least 37 others dead in the all-suite luxury hotel in Pasay City.
Stricter security checks
As requested by the CCPO, Navida said security officers of hotels and pensions houses in the city have agreed to allow policemen to get inside their buildings while bringing their government-issued firearms.
“But that should be done with prior notice to the management and security officers of the hotel or the pension house. We don’t want some persons to pretend as policemen and get inside the hotels,” he said.
Navida said they also directed the security officers of the hotels and pensions houses to order their guests to remove their ballcaps and shades while they are inside the building so it will be easy for them to determine their identities.
“When these people wear ballcaps and shades, we could hardly identify them through the CCTVs (closed-circuit televisions),” he said.
And as a first line of defense, Navida said everyone who gets inside the premises of the hotels and pension houses shall undergo thorough screening and inspection, including their vehicles, right at the entrance.
Senior Supt. Eric Noble, director of the Cebu Provincial Police Office, said checkpoints in key areas in the province continue to be implemented.
“Cebu cops will not allow terrorism to happen,” he said in an interview yesterday.
The Barangay Intelligence Network, he said, in all municipalities and cities in Cebu have been revitalized to help ensure peace and order.
“We will not allow Cebu province to be bothered by terrorists,” he said.
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