By Fred M. Lobo
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa has assured that Metro Manila is safe from terror threats.
Thanks for the assurance but let’s doubly ensure it really is.
The government said that 11 militants linked to the Maute Group have been charged with rebellion.
In God we trust, in jail they rot.
Dela Rosa said Metro Manila is safe even if the alleged financiers of the Maute Group – Engr. Cayamora Maute and his first wife Farhana, are now detained in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig.
Safer to keep them in the city away from their supporters in Mindanao, he said.
Cayamora, father of the Maute brothers Omar and Abdullah, was arrested last June 6 along with his second wife Kongan Alfonso Balawag, their daughter Norjannah Balawag, and her partner Benzarali Tingao in a checkpoint laid out by Task Force Davao in Sirawan, Toril strict, while Farhana was arrested five days later in Kormatan, Masiu town, of Lanao del Sur.
Mautes trapped by authorities.
A suspected bomber of the Maute Group, Mohammad Noaim Maute, who reportedly used a fake identification card of the Mindanao State University (MSU) was arrested Thursday in Cagayan de Oro City.
Another Maute in government custody.
Dela Rosa, in a round-table discussion with Manila Bulletin editors, said he did not discount the possibility that militants went with the flow of civilians leaving the war-torn Marawi City for safer places.
“Yes, that’s a possibility… Hindi naman ibig sabihin (kung sakaling) andito sila eh hindi na safe ang Metro Manila,” Dela Rosa explained.
“But we have not monitored any presence of them here. So far we are safe here. There’s nothing to worry about,” Bato said.
The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) which is in charge of securing Metro Manila is on Red Alert status, he added.
“We have intensified the security especially at the camp of the NCRPO as some members of the Maute family are detained there at Camp Bagong Diwa. We are really guarding them… We take no chances in Metro Manila,” he assured.
The PNP Special Action Force (SAF) were deployed to seal off the area, Bato added.
Brig. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, the spokesman of the martial law implementation under the Eastern Mindanao Command, confirmed that Mohammad Noaim Maute, also known as “Abu Jadid” and “Almahid Pangompig Romato,” was arrested by virtue of Arrest Order No. 1 issued by martial law administrator and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on May 29, 2017.
Alleged bomber now in check, he said.
Malacañang said that more foreign tourists actually visited the Philippines in recent months, downplaying a World Economic Forum (WEF) report that the country has been ranked one of the most dangerous travel destinations in the world.
Hear nothing, say nothing, the Palace suggested.
“Tourism businesses are exposed to security risks. In spite of that, foreign tourists continue to increase steadily,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a Palace press briefing.
Okay, let’s count our tourists. Let’s count our blessings!