The Provincial Peace and Order Council of Negros Oriental is set to reactivate next week its Joint Task Force in the wake of potential security threats in the province and nearby areas.
Lt. Col. Roderick Garcia, commander of the 79 th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, stressed yesterday the need to reactivate the task force for collaboration among its members and to test the inter-operability of government security forces.
The JTF, composed of the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and some government line agencies, was created sometime last year following a reported threat from the notorious kidnap-for-ransom group, the Abu Sayyaf.
Richard Enojo, concurrent provincial administrator and provincial legal officer, had announced during Tuesday's PPOC regular meeting that the JTF meets next week for its reactivation to review its security contingency plan.
The body also agreed that the JTF be reactivated first before calling for a meeting with owners and managers of resorts, especially in potential threat areas like Apo Island and the towns of Bacong, Dauin and Zamboanguita, among others.
The PPOC stressed that while there is no cause for alarm despite recent intelligence reports of the Abu Sayyaf Group allegedly targeting some Visayas areas for their kidnapping activities, it is best to alert these resorts so they can increase their security measures.
Garcia has reiterated his assurance that Negros Oriental is safe with all possible safety nets in place.
Floating and air assets are deployed to support ground troops of the PNP and the Philippine Army, he said.
In fact, Air Force helicopters fly during nighttime to do reconnaissance over the province and nearby areas.
Patrol boats of the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard also continue without let-up its maritime patrols, Garcia added.
He called on the public anew to remain calm but be vigilant in the monitoring of suspicious persons arriving in the city and in their communities.
He said Dumaguete City is a transit point for possible Abu Sayyaf militants, who are traveling to and from Mindanao.
Security has been beefed up elsewhere in the region, to include nearby Cebu and Siquijor provinces.*JFP
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