BY RUBY SILUBRICO and GLENDA TAYONA
ILOILO City – “We remain on top of the situation to ensure peace and order in Western Visayas.”
Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, director of the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6), stressed this as he allayed public fears that the string of bombings in Masbate and Mindanao would spill over to Region 6.
A bomb was detonated 100 meters away from a Philippine Coast Guard station at a seaport in Masbate province around 12:30 a.m. on Monday.
The blast destroyed two aluminum boats and damaged a Philippine Army rescue vessel.
“I have directed all police units and field commanders across the region to intensify security measures and improve police presence,” said Bulalacao.
The New People’s Army claimed responsibility for the Masbate bombing.
On Sunday night, a bomb blast in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat killed one person and injured 15 others – the second attack there in five days. The first one killed three persons.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Western Visayas has also placed itself on heightened alert.
According to PCG Region 6 spokesperson Lieutenant Commander Ramil Palabrica, one of their security measures was posting bomb-sniffing dogs in seaports.
“We are also coordinating with other agencies such as the police and military,” said Palabrica.
The bombing in Masbate was the second in a month. But in Western Visayas, Palabrica said, the coastguard has not monitored any threat.
In Iloilo City, Mayor Jose Espinosa III urged the public to alert the police for anything suspicious in their areas.
“Kun may makita kamo abandoned knapsacks kag mga karton nga daw madugay-dugay na, immediately inform security officers para ma-report immediately sa aton police bomb disposal units,” he said./PN