(UPDATED) Davao City is facing threats from terror group ISIS, prompting authorities to increase security in the area.
In a press conference Thursday, Davao City Acting Mayor Paolo Duterte revealed that Davao City is under ISIS threat and that they are now intensifying intelligence monitoring to further verify information.
The vice mayor said he has ordered Task Force Davao and Davao City Police Office to beef up security.
He also advised the public to remain calm and vigilant.
The intelligence and monitoring operations of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) and the Armed Forces’ Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) are also on alert amid the reported threat.
EastMinCom spokesperson Major Ezra Balagtey told ABS-CBN News that the threat allegedly issued by ISIS against Davao City has yet to be verified, but admitted that threats against Davao City are always present as the area is adjacent to known trouble spots in Western Mindanao, such as Maguindanao and Sulu.
Balagtey added that the “Panacañang” or the DPWH depot in Panacan that serves as President Duterte’s office in Davao have also been placed under AFP’s watch.
“EastMinCom have directed subordinates to intensify intelligence and monitoring in Davao considering that this is his (Duterte’s) showcase,” Balagtey said.
Philippine Coast Guard – Davao’s Lt. Commander Restituto Concio Jr. said BRP Ilocos Norte, a 35-meter coast guard vessel, is docked in Sta. Ana Wharf “to serve as a deterrent and to provide added security whenever the president comes home to Davao.”
“It (BRP Ilocos Norte) came from Zamboanga. It is capable of search and rescue and maritime patrol,” Concio said.
Balagtey said military personnel based in Davao “have been on their toes since President Duterte emerged as the leading candidate in pre-election surveys.”
“With or without the threat, we have intensified our anti-terrorism efforts in Davao City because the Kadayawan (festival) draws near, and because of the frequent stay of President Duterte here,” Balagtey said.
But DCPO public information office head, Police Inspector Catherine Dela Rey assured the public that there is no cause for alarm.
“As of today, we still enjoy the peace and order in Davao City. Intelligence units have always been in place. The order was for us to intensify police visibility, and monitoring of insurgent groups,” Dela Rey said.
The DCPO also asked for the public’s support by “reporting suspicious persons who have recently moved into communities.”
-- Ara Casas, ABSCBN News