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PIA Press Release
2008/08/19

PNP ensures safety of civilians in Zamboanga del Sur

Pagadian City (19 August) -- The entire force of Philippine National Police (PNP) in the province ensures safety of the general public in the event that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels will attack the province.

P/SSupt. Ramon M. Ochotorena, Zamboanga del Sur PNP Director in an interview said the entire province is now on heightened red alert and is ready to protect the civilians from any possible attacks of the said rebels, as part of PNP's preemptive measures.

"We are maximizing the utilization of all available PNP personnel, maximize police visibility, establish checkpoints in all entry and exit points, and intensify Intelligence information gathering in coordination with the AFP and other law enforcement agencies," Ochtorena said.

"The combined forces are doing everything to prevent entry of MILF in the area and in order that atrocities will not happen here, " Ochotorena added.

The police chief has called on individuals to be at all times vigilant and report immediately to the law enforcement authorities presence of any suspicious-looking armed men for their appropriate action.

Meanwhile, Chief Inspector Reynaldo M. Maclang, City PNP Director thanked Lt. Col. Samuel Gayongorsa, Commanding Officer of the 53rd Infantry Battalion for augmenting the force of PNP in ensuring safety of the residents of Pagadian City.

Maclang said that on the night of the atrocities in Lanao del Norte, text messages were circulating in the city which raised alarm and caused panic among the local residents. He said the messages contained information that MILF will include Pagadian City and Zamboanga del Sur in their attack and bombs were already in place. He said that they did not discount the possibility of it. However, they are evaluating and validating the reports they have received so that accurate information will be properly disseminated to the public.

"The PNP will tap radio stations in receiving text messages for us to evaluate and validate before we will appropriately act on these," Maclang added.

He said that despite these threats, the "PNP is ready to protect the lives and properties of civilians at all costs." (PIA-RO9) [top]

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