From the Philippine News Agency (May 10): WESCOM on alert footing following US travel advisory against Palawan
The Western Command (WESCOM), which is responsible for the security of Palawan and the West Philippine Sea, has deployed ships and personnel to safeguard known tourist areas in wake of the US travel advisory against the province.
This was stressed by its head, Lt. Gen. Raul Del Rosario, in an interview Wednesday, and said these units are being aided by various inter-agency task forces.
He added that all WESCOM units, ever since the botched Inabanga, Bohol landing of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) sub-leader Muamar Askali alias "Abu Rami" last April 10, has been on heightened alert.
Target hardening is ongoing to ensure that no lawless elements or terrorists are able to make a sneak attack, the WESCOM chief disclosed.
Government forces in Bohol has so far neutralized nine of the bandits, including Askali and ASG guide Joselito Milloria, in ongoing pursuit operations, leaving only two badly wounded members of the 11-man band as survivors.
Efforts are now ongoing to arrest or neutralize these stragglers.
In its website, the US Embassy warned its citizens from traveling to Palawan as it has received credible information that some terrorist groups are planning to conduct kidnapping operations against foreign nationals in the area.
Threatened by purported terrorist activities in Palawan include Puerto Princesa City and areas surrounding the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.
And while the US government does not make such declaration lightly, Del Rosario said that their intelligence units are still to detect any threats or validate this information.
But, he also admitted that after the ASG landing attempt in Bohol last April, the WESCOM has received reports that ASG bandits, in high-speed boats, will make a similar foray in Coron, but so far nothing has happened to give credence to this information.