Security tightened after Indo attacks

Authorities in the region have tightened security measures in the city and other areas of the region following the series of terrorist incidents in Indonesia that already left at least 43 dead since May 8.

“We are ready to counter (any) possible threat,” said Davao City Police Office (DCPO) director Sr. Supt. Alexander Tagum during the AFP-PNP Press briefing held at the conference room of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO).

Tagum said the DCPO and the Task Force Davao are “very strict” in the border checkpoints while the Philippine National Police Maritime Group and the Philippine Coast Guard are doing the same in the sea and coastline.

Tagum added that city residents are “lucky” because the local government has a City Public Safety Security Command Center that supports the DCPO, TFD, and other supporting security units against terrorists.

Chief Supt. Manuel Gaerlan has also ordered the lower units “to be always in full alert status since we are still in election period.”

“We also ordered the lower units to conduct target hardening in areas especially in vital installations, places of convergence and security operations,” said Chief Insp. Milgrace Driz, the spokesperson of Police Regional Office (PRO) XI.

She added that the intelligence monitoring will also be intensified.

Driz encouraged everyone to be vigilant because public safety is not only the concern of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police).

“So we should always be on alert,” Driz added.

The public, she said, should immediately report to the nearest police station or AFP unit if they observe any suspicious activity in their community.

Brig. Gen. Ernesto Torres, the commander of 1003rd Infantry Brigade, said the military, while focusing on the insurgency operations, is also doing counter terrorism.

Torres said they also have established a good exchange of information and intelligence with other units outside the city as plan to attack particular places doesn’t always “come from within.”

The brigade commander said they have been strengthening the effort by conducting “critical infrastructure protection and security operations” where they conduct security forums together with their security counterparts and civilian security officers in the city and some parts of Davao del Norte under his jurisdiction.

“So with this kind of operation that we have with the other law enforcement and civilian security (units), I think we have the mechanism that can detect before any terroristic activities can enter in the region,” Torres added.

He admitted that incidents similar to Indonesia may likely happen in the city.

“But we must remain vigilant and alert,” he further said.

Indonesia is on high alert following the attacks.

For three days, from May 8 to May 10, inmates at a detention center staged a riot resulting in the death of five police officers and one inmate in Depok, West Java.

On May 13 to 14, at least five attacks hit Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city, killing a total of 26 persons, including the 13 attackers. The attacks also injured 57 others.

The first set of attacks hit three churches – the Innocent Saint Mary Catholic Church (Ngagel), the Indonesia Christian Church (Diponegoro), and the Surabaya Central Pentecost Church Church (Arjuno) – on May 13.

The second attack hit a public housing in Sidoarjo on May 13.

The first two sets of attacks were reportedly staged by family of bombers with children believed to be among the attackers.

On the third attack, on May 14, a suicide bomber attacked a police station.

On May 16 in Riau, five persons with swords attacked a police station, killing one police officer. Four of the attackers were killed.