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Oro police step up city security ahead of festivities

By JIGGER JERUSALEM
Correspondent .

HUNDREDS of police officers will be on the streets to thwart any plan to sabotage the annual city fiesta celebration and related events, the city police said Saturday.

Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) spokesperson Maj. Evan Viñas said additional law enforcement agents have already been deployed to help secure the fiesta’s core events.

He said the augmentation are from the Regional Mobile Force Battalion and the Philippine National Police’s Special Training Unit.

Viñas, however, did not disclose the actual number of law enforcers assigned to secure the city fiesta but said they are more than enough to create a strong police presence in major activities such as the street dancing, civic and fluvial parade, religious procession, and other core events.

“Teams from the EOD, K9, and Swat will conduct paneling and ‘sanitation’ of areas in the city where the activities are to be held,” he said.

In a separate interview, City Mobile Force Company commander Maj. Alexy Sonido said he has already assigned teams from the Explosive and Ordnance Disposal, Strategic Weapons and Tactics, K9, and Emergency Response Team.

Sonido said these units, which are under his command, will be at the event venues to secure the areas, while some are on standby in case an untoward incident occurs.

“We are ready for any eventuality. Our teams have been preparing and are ready to respond,” Sonido added.

Viñas said Cocpo has coordinated with the National Telecommunications Commission and the city government to implement the signal-jamming protocol on at least three major events – carnival street dance competition on Aug. 25, civic and float parade on Aug. 27, and religious and fluvial procession on Aug. 28.

During the conduct of those events, he said people are advised to refrain from bringing backpacks, umbrellas or from wearing sunglasses.

He added use of drones will also be regulated as he asked owners to secure permit prior to the events. Unauthorized drones will be confiscated by the police.

At present, the city police is on full alert status and requests for leave by PNP personnel are no longer approved unless there is an urgent medical condition by the requesting officer. It took effect early August and will end first week of September.

Viñas said they received no report of impending threat that would disrupt the celebration of the city fiesta, but added they must not be complacent.

“We are still on threat level 2, which mean, the intent (of possible saboteurs) is present and capability is not monitored. It may or may not happen, but we have countermeasures in place,” he said.

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