Port security tightened Police assure: Cebu is safe
(The Freeman) - June 19, 2017 - 4:00pm

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) has assured the public that the security forces are prepared to stop any form of spillover from the war-stricken Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, after government forces had apprehended two Maute sisters on board a sea vessel bound for Iloilo last Sunday.

CCPO’s Chief Inspector Ramoncelio Sawan said the police are constantly coordinating with port police and the coastguard in enhancing the security measures in ports, and also with cops from other regions to validate identity of the evacuees from Marawi.

“We trust the measures implemented by our partners sa port management and sa ilang security,” Sawan said.

However, one of the problems they foresee is the sufficiency of security plans to be implemented, especially in double-checking passenger identity and packages.

He said the police are waiting for updates coming from the port police in implementing a dedicated gate for Mindanao passengers.

“Kato ng giingon nga magbuhat og exit area, sa pagkakaron wa pa maghatag og update ang port,” Sawan said.

However, Cebu is not completely invulnerable to infiltration from rebels as there are unofficial ports and hidden entrances surrounding the island.

Cebu Provincial Police Office Head Senior Superintendent Eric Noble said he had directed his policemen to keep a close watch in their jurisdiction, in case terrorist would use uncanny methods in entering mainland Cebu.

“Ang pagpunta dito sa Cebu maraming mode.  Merong from Osamis pupunta dito.  Pwede ring Cagayan at marami pa. Ang ano natin, yung mga pulis natin continuous monitoring, checkpoint, at coordination with port management. Hanggat maari ay maiwasan makapasok yung mga wanted,” Noble said.

He reiterated the need for the public to stay vigilant and immediately report suspected persons in order for cops to validate information, as what had been done during the clash between government troops and Abu Sayyaf rebels in Bohol province last April.

“Ang inaasahan natin diyan ay yung taong bayan gaya nung nangyari sa Bohol. Huwag nating payagan na yung mga terrorista ay makapasok sa Cebu at makadungis sa ating imahe,” Noble said.

As the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) continues to promote Cebu as a port of major destination, its officials asked the public for cooperation as the country is under threat of terrorism.

Both CPA General Manager Angelo Verdan and Port Manager Oscar Lopez urged everyone to cooperate with authorities, if they sense something unusual in their respective community.

They said this during yesterday's opening of the Port Expo 2017 at the Passenger Terminal 2 at Pier 3 in Cebu City, which was participated by ten different port stakeholders from cargo-handling, shipping, public information and allied services.

Verdan said that Cebu port is safe but they cannot be complacent.  In fact, he said they are augmenting their security forces at the port with their own port police and private security guards.

The ports’ x-ray machines are in place and the K-9 units are helping check cargoes, among others, as a matter of procedure and protocol.

"Pero kitang tanan dapat alerto gyud ta batok terrorista," said Verdan. — Mae Clydyl L. Avila, Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (FREEMAN)

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