STATE OF VIGILANCE IN METRO

METRO Manila, August 7, 2003 (STAR) By Non Alquitran  - Metro police chief Deputy Director General Reynaldo Velasco ordered yesterday his five district directors to further strengthen and enhance preemptive and preventive measures to thwart attempts of destabilization and terrorist bombings in the metropolis.

Velasco issued his directive a day after a car bomb exploded at a hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia killing at least 14 people and wounding close to 100 others.

Amid the possible spillover of terror attacks in Manila, Velasco led the inspection yesterday of vital government and private installations including the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) stations following President Arroyo’s order to secure potential "targets" in the metropolis.

"The threat of terrorist attack is always there. What makes this problem very difficult to deal with is that attacks can only be anticipated but cannot be predicted, hence a high state of vigilance and effective intelligence network is important to preempt this," Velasco said.

He said that necessary security precautions should be put in place in view of reports that Jemaah Islamiyah has established links in the country as shown by the Dec. 30, 2000 bombing perpetrated by Indonesian fugitive Fathur Roman Al-Ghozi .

In his directive to the five police district directors, Velasco emphasized that special attention should be given to vital installations, business establishments, schools and transport terminals.

"I have ordered the deployment of additional policemen supported by K-9 teams in malls and business establishments to ensure the safety of the public," he added.

Apart from these, Velasco also called on government and private agencies to intensify the mandatory checking of passengers, their belongings as well as shipments at the seaports, airports and bus terminals, which could be used by terrorists as entry points to Metro Manila.

"Uniformed policemen and those in plainclothes have been deployed both within the vicinity of the LRT and MRT stations and inside the coaches to monitor the movement of the people and immediately respond to emergencies," he said.

The 17,000-strong National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) has been on red alert not only to thwart terrorist activities but also the threat of a coup.

Velasco said the NCRPO’s drive against all forms of criminality is ongoing and that the entire Metro police force is committed to ensure peace and order in the country.

The NCRPO chief also urged the public’s vigilance and to report immediately to concerned authorities any suspicious individuals.

"The cooperation of our citizenry is very essential in our campaign against terrorism, criminality and even efforts to topple the government. We will succeed in maintaining the peace and order in the country with the help of the people," Velasco said.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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