Leonardia: Bombings could have been avoided if the public was alert
By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia urged the public to remain vigilant following the attacks on the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu over the weekend.
With the Bacolaodiat Festival set to begin tomorrow, Leonardia said it is standard operating procedure for the city’s police force to be on ‘red alert’ status.
He said security is always their top priority and appealed for the public to immediately report any suspicious activity to police. The mayor pointed out, the bombing in Jolo could have been avoided if everyone was on alert.
Leonardia added, they will closely coordinate with the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) during the festival.
Around 1,400 law enforcement personnel will be deployed as part of security for this year’s festival.
BCPO spokesperson, Police Chief Inspector Ariel Pico, said security forces will be comprised of BCPO and Police Regional Office-6 officers, along with anti-crime and rescue volunteer groups.
He said Philippine Army soldiers and K-9 units will also join their existing force.
BCPO has also been placed on full alert status following the Jolo bombings as there was a noted increase in police patrols at various churches across the city.
The death toll from the Jolo bombings has since been lowered to 18, with 82 wounded.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack; however, investigations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police revealed the attacks were conducted by the Ajang-Ajang faction of Abu Sayyaf./DGB, WDJ