By JIGGER J. JERUSALEM
and JOEY NACALABAN
CAMP Alagar yesterday ordered police units in northern Mindanao to be on offensive and defensive mode against insurgents, terrorists and criminals to thwart off attempts spoil President Duterte’s state-of-the-nation address on Monday.
Brig. Gen. Rafael Santiago Jr., police director for northern Mindanao, instructed police stations to maintain peace and order especially in areas where protests are to take place, supervise traffic, and activate civil disturbance management in coordination with other law enforcement agencies and local governments.
“We should double our efforts to assure the peaceful and successful result of the Sona through our strengthened and enhanced security measures together with our counterparts,” he said.
Santiago said the police cannot afford to lose its grip and would need to be on top of the peace and order situation in the region.
He called on citizens in the region to do their share by being vigilant and by providing useful information to the police in case there are attempts to disrupt the peace and order situation.
Camp Alagar spokesperson Lt. Col. Mardy Hortillosa said Santiago’s order simply means that the police would carry out anti-insurgency, anti-criminality, and anti-drug operations throughout the region.
Hortillosa said the police would also help in vehicular traffic management as they activate their Civil Disturbance Management.
Col. Henry Dampal, city police director, said the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) has already prepared a security plan for the city that would be followed by law enforcers on Monday.
Part of the security plan, Dampal said, is the deployment of officers and special units such as the anti-riot police and the explosive ordnance disposal.
But, he said, “Our deployment is calibrated. We don’t know yet where the protest actions [will be]. Deployment will be based on where it is needed. Hopefully it will be peaceful.”
Dampal said authorities would be keep an eye on street demonstrations from a distance and would stay in strategic positions in their areas of convergence.
He said no Cocpo member is allowed to go on a leave of absence on Monday unless really justified.
“This is to strengthen and focus on our security measures along with our counterparts,” said Dampal, adding the the police would not lower their guard.
Cocpo spokesperson Maj. Evan Viñas said the police would be tolerant of demonstrators as long as they stage peaceful rallies and protesters behaved well.