“Foot patrols (and) the checkpoints are 24/7. One of the stations at any one time should be conducting a checkpoint in the three entries to the city including the fourth from Samal Island.” — Chief Superintendent Jaime Morente, outgoing Regional Director of the Philippine National Police
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — “We can’t question it because it didn’t come from us,” Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte told reporters on Saturday afternoon. He added the usual precaution to take is to “tighten security, (increase) vigilance and to pray.”
Duterte has convened government agencies concerned with the peace and order and security to address the advisory issued by the United States, Canada and Australia, which directed their citizens to avoid travelling to several areas in Mindanao including Davao City.
Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), in a statement posted in its website, has advised Canadians against all travel to the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, which includes Basilan, Sulu, Tawi Tawi, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao; as well as to the Zamboanga Peninsula, Zamboanga del Sur, Sarangani, Lanao del Norte, Davao, North and South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, meanwhile, has cancelled last July 1 all travel by embassy staff to the cities of Davao, Cotabato and Zamboanga. Three days after, the United States Embassy in Manila restricted the travel of its personnel to the same cities including the Sulu Archipelago.
The said advisories were made due to the alleged serious threats of terrorist attacks, kidnappings, violent crimes and clashes between armed groups
“The Embassy wishes to remind all U.S. citizens to remain vigilant and maintain an appropriate level of personal security in all circumstances by reviewing your personal safety plans; remaining aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitoring local news sources for updates,” the US Embassy said.
Duterte said he can’t question the integrity or the capability of the Americans, Canadians and Australians to come with this kind of advisory as he noted that any “threat to human life” is considered “alarming.”
Chief Superintendent Jaime Morente, the outgoing Regional Director of the Philippine National Police, said he already ordered the city police director to increase their troops’ visibility.
“Foot patrols (and) the checkpoints are 24/7. One of the stations at any one time should be conducting a checkpoint in the three entries to the city including the fourth from Samal Island,” he said.
He noted that their moves would be “continuous and random” but they would still observe police operational procedures, like police officers wearing their nameplates and officials supervising those with vehicles.
Meanwhile, Davao City Police Director Ronaldo dela Rosa said they will intensify “police intelligence” and “target hardening.”
“We are appealing to the public to bear with us as you will experience inconvenience (because of this) as our checkpoints will be here and there to address the possible threat,” he said.
Following the security threats, the city’s planned hosting of the Philippine Ad Congress in October is cancelled.
“I said good riddance and we just have to adjust. It’s a failed ambition to host it here in Davao City because of these developments. We can’t do anything about it,” Duterte said.
The city’s chief executive said he can only hope that “those with bad intentions would not do such (terrorist) acts.”
Morente and dela Rosa, this city’s high-ranking police officers, are set to be reassigned following protocols from the Camp Crame.
Dela Rosa is said to take a new post as a Training Supervisor.
Dela Rosa, however, said he sees three officers qualified to take his post, namely, Regional Criminal Investigation Unit Chief PSSupt. Albert Ignatius Ferro, Office of Regional Intelligence Division Chief, PSupt. Michael John Dubria and Office of Regional Logistics and Research Development Division Chief PSSupt. Vicente Danao, Jr. Meanwhile, Morente said he still doesn’t know who’s going to replace him. (John Rizle L. Saligumba/davaotoday.com)