Monday, October 16, 2006
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (BEN BALCE / Oct. 15) - THE bombings in Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato Tuesday and Wednesday, prompted the Police Regional Office 10 (PRO 10) to place the entire Cagayan de Oro city and the whole of region 10 under heightened alert, police officials said yesterday.
Yesterday, the Armed Forces and the PNP said the attacks that killed at least seven people were allegedly the handiwork of the Southeast Asian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah and the local Abu Sayyaf group.
“The attacks prompted us to increase our alert levels,” said police Northern Mindanao head Chief Superintendent Florante Baguio.
Baguio said more personnel were already deployed starting yesterday at checkpoints including crowded places, like malls, market, churches, piers, and terminals. “We are also securing government installations, these are the focus of our security to preempt any eventualities,” he added.
“Terrorists are traitors so we have to be vigilant enough,” said Baguio.
Meanwhile, PRO 10 deputy regional director for administration PSSupt. Danilo Empedrad denied reports that Cagayan de Oro City is one of the targets of the possible terrorist attacks.
“We have received intelligence reports that some of the city in Mindanao are included at the list of possible attacks, but our city was not included,” Empedrad said.
Empedrad said that still the entire command in the region are gathering intelligence information on the alleged attacks in the region.
“The police are prepared to counter any possible terrorist attacks, particularly here in our region,” Empedrad said.
Based on reports, the areas targeted for bombing, named Zamboanga City and Carmen town in North Cotabato.
Empedrad said the PNP, in coordination with the Army”s 4th Infantry Division based in Camp Evangelista has taken security precautions to preempt the plot.
Police units in Mindanao have received intelligence information that terrorists were planning to launch bombings in Kidapawan and Isulan in Sultan Kudarat, and in Cotabato City.
Empedrad also denied report the MILF were behind the attacks. “The peace negotiations are now at the higher level, as mostly the international community already focus and participated in the ongoing peace talks,” he said.
But on the other hand, Cotabato governor Manny Piñol said the bomb used in Makilala “had all the signatures of the MILF.”
“I’m deeply disappointed because we are talking, we have been communicating and they promised not to use violence in pursuit of their cause,” Piñol said over local radio here.
The blast caused minor damages to Hua Hing Trading in front of the blast site, Piñol aid.
Eid Kabalu, spokesman for the MILF, said his group has had no role in the Makilala and Tacurong attacks.
“The accusations hurled by the governor were unfair,” Kabalu said.
Meanwhile, the military said that reports before the explosions, they received reports about plans of the two groups to stage bombings in Mindanao to divert the military’s attention from an ongoing offensive against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu.
“Oplan Ultimatum” was launched on Aug. 1, targeting mainly Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khadaffy Janjalani and JI bombers Dulmatin and Omar Patek,” said military.