From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 14): Soldiers deployed to secure Tacloban fiesta activities
The Philippine Army has stepped up support to the city police here to help secure fiesta-related activities in the capital.
Lt. Col. Danilo Dupiag, commander of the Army 78th Infantry Battalion based in Burauen, Leyte said that soldiers had been assisting the local police to guard the airport, seaport, terminal, major commercial centers, and other public places.
Dupiag told reporters on Wednesday that 14 soldiers grouped into two teams had been sent to the city this week to help prevent entry of terrorists. The city is home to 242,089 people but daytime population can go up to a million.
“We try not to have much physical presence in public place because our focus is more on prevention. We want people to enjoy and not be alarmed by the presence of many soldiers with long firearms in urban areas,” he added.
The soldiers will hold joint operations with the police, such as foot patrol, and police-military visibility.
The police and military in Eastern Visayas region have been on heightened alert since the Marawi siege erupted three weeks ago.
The army official said there’s still no intelligence report of terrorists’ presence in the region but “we will not let our guards down.”
One strategy is the conduct of random checkpoints to disrupt unwanted movements and search for contraband and weapons.
“It’s the police that do the searching, but there’s always soldier nearby to assist the police if necessary,” he added.
Dupiag has called on the public to remain vigilant and exercise caution in populated areas. He also reminded residents to report to authorities the presence of suspicious-looking people.
The city expects significant increase of visitors this month as the local government lined up several activities related to the fiesta celebration on June 30.
Last week, the city government kicked off the Sangyaw Festival. These day-to-day activities include concerts, cultural presentations, and pageants at the Balyuan Park.
Likewise, the provincial government launched the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival 2017 with nightly cultural presentations at the Remedios Trinidad Romualdez plaza.