Police, military on alert

LEGAZPI CITY --- Security measures have been intensified in major seaports, airports and bus terminals across the Bicol peninsula as the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) on Monday placed the region on heightened alert.


Legazpi Mayor Noel Rosal, RPOC chair, said the alert status is a precautionary measure to prevent lawless elements from sowing terror and disrupt the normal way of life in the provinces, towns, and cities in the region.


Rosal, while referring to the bombing incident in Jolo as deplorable, said, “we would not like similar incident to happen anywhere in Bicol.”


The high alert status would also serve as a preemptive security measure to keep the upcoming midterm national and local election campaign orderly and peaceful.


The police and military units re expected to dispatch additional troops to man checkpoints in seaports, airports, bus terminals, road networks and other places where people traditionally converge, such as malls, public markets, and churches.


Seaports and airports would be the primary concerns as security checks would be stricter in major seaports in Albay, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, Masbate and Camarines provinces, Rosal said.


“All luggages and cargoes brought in by passengers in ports, airport and bus terminals would be closely inspected for explosives and firearms,” Rosal in an interview said.


Police and military intelligence reports said that ports Sorsogon, Catanduanes, and Masbate are being used as trans-shipment point of illegal drugs from and to Metro Manila, Visayas and Mindanao regions.


Police visibility would be implemented in all malls and churches in Bicol.


Army Col Paul Regencia, 9th Infantry Division (ID) spokesman, said that the Army is consistently on full alert, conducting security patrol in remote villages where movements of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels are often sighted.