MANILA – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has placed all its assets on "heightened alert" in Mindanao, the Visayas, and some parts of Luzon to ensure the security of all port passengers and mariners after the recent bomb explosion at the Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City.
In an interview over Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon on Tuesday, PCG spokesperson Rear Admiral Armand Balilo said additional PCG personnel have been deployed to potential areas of attack, such as ports, with sea marshals assigned in all passenger ships to ensure their safe travel.
“Lahat ng coastal communities ng Mindanao at maging sa Visayas ay binabantayan natin. Pati Metro Manila, naka-heightened alert tayo, kasama na mga floating assets sa dagat (All coastal communities in Mindanao and the Visayas are under our watch. Even in Metro Manila, we are on heightened alert, including our floating assets at sea),” Balilo said.
The PCG, he said, is coordinating with the Philippine Ports Authority, the Port Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to ensure public security through information sharing.
“Dinagdagan po natin ang tao natin. 24/7 ang instruction po ni (PCG Commandant) Admiral Ronnie Gavan na makita ang visibility or presence ng PCG (We have added more personnel as Gavan has ordered 24/7 visibility or the presence of the PCG),” Balilo said.
Aside from possible terror attacks, he said, PCG personnel are also on the lookout for disturbances and crimes, such as robberies on ships.
He likewise called on the public to report suspicious activities and be vigilant during their travels this holiday season.
“Hinihingi po natin ang kooperasyon ng publiko at maging po ng shipping companies para maihatid natin ang ating mga kababayan sa kanilang mga probinsya (We are seeking the cooperation of the public, as well as shipping companies so we could bring our compatriots to their provinces),” he said.
Earlier, the PNP announced a “full alert” status beginning next week to ensure the safety and security of the public this holiday season.
On Sunday, four people were killed and 50 others were wounded during a bomb explosion at the MSU gymnasium in Marawi City during a Catholic Mass.
The Islamic State has taken responsibility for the attack but the AFP is verifying its validity. (PNA)