Police: Central Visayas on heightened alert after Marawi bombing
CEBU CITY, Philippines — In light of the recent bombing of a university in Marawi City in Mindanao, police in Central Visayas are now on heightened alert.
This was relayed to reporters by Police Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Ace Pelare, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office Central Visayas (PRO-7), during a press conference on Wednesday, December 6, 2023.
It can be recalled that at least four persons who were attending a Catholic Mass lost their lives in an explosion inside the gymnasium of the Mindanao State University.
The incident took place on Sunday, December 3, and resulted to the death of four individuals and injury of 50 more.
In Central Visayas, there are no threats of terrorism monitored by police, as of this writing.
Nevertheless, PRO-7 personnel are instructed to remain pro-active and refrain from being too complacent.
“As of now, we have not received any specific intelligence report nga naay mga ingon ana nga threat diri sa Central Visayas. Pero just the same, the instruction of our regional director Police Brigadier General Anthony Aberin, nga ang kapulisan dili mokompyansa,” said Pelare.
(As of now, we have not received any specific intelligence report that there are threats like that in Central Visayas. But just the same, the instruction of our regional director, Police Brigadier General Anthony Aberin, that the police should not be complacent.)
Police reaction teams
Pelare said that they would be making the necessary adjustments in the deployment in order to make sure that the region would remain threat-free in time for the upcoming holidays.
He said that reaction teams would be sent out all over the region in order to keep the citizens safe and secure as they would leave the comfort of their homes.
“Hugot na daan ang atong intelligence monitoring. Once naa tay mamonitor nga mga incoming threats, atoa na dayon nang aksyonan. Unya gipalapdan sad atong pagkatap sa kapulisan nga nag-uniform ug kaning covert,” said Pelare.
(Our intelligence monitoring are tight. Once we monitor incoming threats, we will act on that right away. And we also widened the presence of our uniformed policemen and those policemen doing covert operations.)
He further explained that there would be uniformed and covert officers roaming the streets.
Areas of convergence
According to Pelare, they will be focusing their deployment in areas of convergence where people usually gather around particularly for holiday activities.
“We are focusing now on areas of convergence. Like for example mga malls, markets, hilabi na diri sa Cebu City karon. Naa naman tay mga night markets. Naa sad tay nindot nga tourist destination diha sa Fuente. So these are really being considered,” he said.
(We are focusing now on areas of convergence. Like for example the malls, markets, especially here in Cebu City now. We now have night markets. We also have nice tourist destinations here in Fuente. So these are really being considered.)
The PRO-7 has also extended their efforts in a series of dialogues with Muslim communities all over the region.
Talks with Muslim community
On Tuesday, December 5, the regional director engaged in a discussion with the Muslim community who promised to cooperate with the police’s efforts to maintain peace and order.
“They have assured us of their 100 percent support. They will immediately report if they will notice any suspicious individuals,” said Pelare.
With this task, the Philippine National Police (PNP) will be working closely with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for a strong and strategic intelligence exchange between agencies.
“We have also extended our cooperation in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines. And tanang avenues atong gitan-aw. Of course, manihanglan ta sa tabang sa atong katawhan (We looked at all avenues. Of course, we also need the help of the public),” said Pelare.
Intelligence officers to be deployed
Furthermore, the AFP will also be deploying intelligence officers throughout the region to gather more relevant data.
Aside from monitoring, authorities will also be implementing target hardening measures in order to secure areas that are more likely to be victimized by criminals. These areas refer to malls, tourist spots, religious sites, and ports.
As this incident may cause citizens to be alarmed for their safety, Pelare assured that people in Central Visayas do not need to panic as the situation here remains safe and secure.
“There is nothing to be alarmed of. Actually, ang inyong kapulisan, kauban ang kasundaluhan, nagbantay sa mga areas of convergence nato,” he said.
(There is nothing to be alarmed of. Actually, your police, together with our soldiers, are monitoring the areas of convergence.)
CPPO to monitor borders
Meanwhile, police in Cebu province will be strengthening their monitoring of entry and exit points around the province in order to make sure that individuals with plans to disturb the peace will not succeed.
Police Major Windell Abellana, CPPO Public Information Officer, said that they would be monitoring borders to be proactive following the heightened alert.
“Security preparations are in place. Atoang Cebu Police Provincial Office are ready para sa pag-prevent ug pag-protektar sa atong katawhan sa probinsya sa Sugbo,” relayed Abellana.
(Security preparations are in place. Our Cebu Police Provincial Office are ready to prevent and protect our people in the province of Cebu.)
He also highlighted the contribution of social media platforms which would allow citizens to easily report to authorities any untoward incidents that require police assistance.
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