Thursday, July 9, 2009

Davao is most-prepared city to counter anti-terrorism

Task Force Davao said Dabawenyos should remain calm even as they assured residents that Davao City is the most prepared city when it comes to countering terrorist attacks.

“Davao may be at a heightened alert but it is the most prepared city for countering terrorism attacks,” Task Force Davao commanding officer Oscar Lactao said yesterday. The city has been placed under security level 3 which means there is a heightened threat as opposed to level 1 for no threat, level 2 for moderate threat and level 4 for very high threat levels.

Lactao however said the city may be on a heightened alert status but “there is no specific and no imminent threat to the city.” There is thus no reason for Dabawenyos to worry despite the successive bombing incidents in Jolo, Iligan and Cotabato.

He said all the systems are in place to protect the security of the city and its residents. They have just completed “Oplan Laban sa Terorismo”, a document which lists down the roles of the various concerned agencies involved in combating terrorism to include Task Force Davao, Maritime, 911, Regional Mobile Group, TMG, Davao International Airport, Marina and the City Mayor’s Office among others.

The first line of defense when there is a terrorist threat, he said, is intelligence which is needed to stop the perpetrators even before they get into the city. This has been accomplished, Lactao said, with the arrest of three members of a terrorist cell in Cotabato, Maguindanao and Marawi and the killing of one in Pantukan. Only one of the cell members is at large and he is monitored to be in Central Mindanao.

Lactao said the next line of defense involve the setting up of s system such as the Task Force, Philippine National Police and the 911. These systems are already in place so the city is secure, he added.

Next strategy, he said, is target hardening which means securing the area including malls, schools and other public places. He said these places already have their own security in place and they have also coordinated with them.

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