DAVAO CITY — Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has placed the terror threat at three in a scale of 10 but emphasized that the government response is in full scale “like it is martial law”.
Duterte said the city government is doing “humanly possible” to ensure the safety of the people, adding that terrorism must be responded in full scale.
The mayor also stressed that response to terror threat whether in Davao City requires the full cooperation in all security checks at checkpoints and vigilance of the community.
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas would not confirm if Davao City is the target of the terror group. He would not also confirm if the government is running after suspected members of the Jemaah Islamiya (JI).
However, he said he is satisfied with the preparations of the city’ security forces.
All intelligence sources of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the mayor’s own sources, the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) are interconnecting with each other to track down terrorists, he said.
The 1,400 police personnel are on alert including the more or less 350 members of Task Force Davao. They will be augmented by other forces including those from neighboring provinces.
Duterte also emphasized that curfew on liquor is still in force.
Roxas flew in here from Manila to talk with Mayor Duterte on security threats and what actions have so far been taken to ensure the security of the city.
Duterte and Roxas met the press early evening after a closed door meeting at Marco Polo Hotel.
Roxas said the police and the military are on heightened alert since Thursday. Checkpoints have been set up in strategic areas.
Roxas also urged the public to be vigilant and report immediately any suspected persons.
Roxas has also tapped the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams, the barangay tanods and other individuals who serve as a network of anonymous informants for PNP.
Earlier, Duterte has ordered police and military to effect higher level of alert in the city following a phone call from President Benigno Aquino III who told the mayor on a classified information about the presence of international terrorists in Mindanao.
The President instructed Duterte not to take the information lightly and to ensure safety of the people.
“Do not take it lightly,” Duterte quoted Aquino, who phoned him at about 5:00 p.m. on Thursday (June 26). The mayor echoed the same to police officers, military commanders and concerned agencies, saying coming from the president is a serious matter.
While there was no specific details provided to him, Duterte said he wants everybody to do more to ensure that the city remains peaceful and safe.
According to the mayor, the government is pursuing “persons of interest” or people in the radar of the government security forces.
Duterte expects more mobile checkpoints and enforce stricter checks at entry and exit points of the city.
“I task everybody to cooperate,” Duterte said.