Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Alert up in Region 12 after Marawi attacks

From the Philippine News Agency (May 24): Alert up in Region 12 after Marawi attacks

The Police Regional Office (PRO)-12 has placed the entire region under full alert status in the wake of the terror attacks staged by the Maute group in Marawi City.

Supt. Romeo Galgo Jr., PRO-12 public information officer, said Wednesday such move was also in line with the declaration of martial law in the entire Mindanao late Tuesday night by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

He said all police units in the region are currently on full deployment and positioned in various strategic areas as part of the heightened security operations.

"We're doing everything to secure the entire region and prevent similar attacks from happening here," he said in a radio interview.

Also known as Soccsksargen, Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato, and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Galgo said they have not received specific threats in the area in connection with the Marawi City attacks, but said they are implementing "proactive measures" to prevent possible spillover incidents.

Citing orders from Chief Supt. Cedrick Train, Region 12 police director, he said additional police detachments have been set up in major highways and other key areas, especially in the entry and exit points.

He said they have intensified their security patrols and intelligence monitoring in parts of the region for possible movements of sympathizers of the Maute group, which had pledged support to international terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or ISIS.

Galgo said they are also closely watching the coastal areas of Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat provinces for similar movements.

The coastal town of Maasim in Sarangani was the previous base of the dismantled local terror group Ansal al-Khilafa Philippines, which had also declared allegiance to ISIS and believed linked to the Maute group.

The presence of Abu Sayyaf bandits was also confirmed in the past years in several operations in this city, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat.

"We've been closely coordinating with our counterparts in the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and other law enforcement agencies capable of providing security," Galgo said.

The police official allayed concerns from some sectors on possible abuses by government forces due to the declaration of martial law, citing that the "scope of our mandate only focuses on providing security to the people."

He advised residents to remain calm and vigilant, and cooperate with authorities on matters of security, especially in providing related information.


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