Saturday, September 3, 2016

Legazpi City mayor issues support for President’s declaration of “state of lawlessness”
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 3 (PNA) -- Mayor Noel Rosal of Legazpi City has issued support for the state of lawlessness declared by President Rodrigo Duterte following the Friday night attack at a city market in Davao City that caused the death of 14 persons and injuries to 71 others.

“The declaration is very necessary so that the people will be more alert and vigilant, especially those in Mindanao,” he said.

The declaration has authorized the police and military to conduct security searches in cars and frisking of individuals in checkpoints.

“There must be more police visibility in all entry and exit points and checkpoints,” Rosal said in an interview on Saturday.

He added that mall owners should also “strictly conduct inspections at the entrance areas” of their establishments.

Acording to Chief Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe, head of the Police Regional Office in Bicol (PRO5), all provincial directors, unit commanders and chiefs of police have been ordered to closely supervise and intensify their security measures in airports, seaports, bus and public utility terminals, malls and public places.

He said police checkpoints would be set up in all major road networks in the six provinces of Bicol while police visibility patrols will be deployed in “areas of convergence and vital installations.”

But Buenafe said the police were told to “exercise extreme caution” in conducting the checkpoints.

Earlier, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) here issued a warning to the public to be cautious in going to malls following unconfirmed reports about a possible bomb threat by suicide bombers from Mindanao who wanted to sow terror in this premier city.

The NBI, however, later lifted the alarm status after it verified that the report was a hoax.

“We are soliciting the support of the peace and order councils in the regions for their quest to have a safe and secured community,” Lt.Gen Ferdinand Quidilla, commanding general of the Armed Forces’ Southern Luzon Command (Solcom), said in a statement issued Saturday.

"We call for sobriety and for the people to remain calm and refrain from any speculations so as not to aggravate the situation," added Maj. Virgilio Perez Jr., chief of Solcom’s public information office, in the same press statement.

Solcom that covers the Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions is based in Camp Nakar in Lucena, Quezon.

Mayor Rosal said the President’s declaration gave him the authority to call out the military forces to support the police in suppressing lawlessness and disorder.

President Duterte had clarified the state of lawlessness was not martial law and did not involve the suspension of the writ of Habeas Corpus.

“Any punitive actions should be in the furtherance of protecting the country to stop terrorism,” he told reporters after an ocular inspection of the blast site early Saturday morning.

He said the declaration has something to do with protecting the country and people given his intensified drugs operation, extrajudicial killings and terrorism not only in Davao but other places especially in Mindanao. He cited recent bombings in some Mindanao localities.

Section 18, article 7 of the Constitution states that the “President shall be the commander-in-chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.”(PNA) RMA/GVR/CBD/RSM