MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is on heightened alert in Metro Manila, following the September 2 blast in Davao City that killed at least 14 and wounded more than 60.
Brigadier General Roberto Domines, commander of the AFP Joint Task Force-National Capital Region (JTF-NCR), told Rappler on Saturday, September 3, that they will execute more measures to further enhance security in Metro Manila.
“Because of what happened in Davao, there is a possibility that Manila will be hit, but it’s only a possibility,” Domines added.
The joint task force will meet in a coordinating conference on Saturday afternoon to consolidate all intelligence of both AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“NCR is covered by the PNP, so with what happened to Davao, maybe starting after this conference this afternoon, we’ll be joining them in patrols. Dati walang sundalo na nagpa-patrol sa streets ng Manila,” he explained. (Before, soldiers did not join street patrols in Manila.)
President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday declared a “state of lawlessness” in the country. It simply means more soldiers and policemen will now be deployed, government will set up more checkpoints, and impose, if needed, curfew in certain areas. It is the mildest of the 3 commander-in-chief powers of the President granted by the Constitution.
According to Domines, the joint task force is prepared to be deployed anytime.
“Naka-standby buong armed forces (The entire armed forces is on standby) because this is the NCR [National Capital Region]. The chief of staff can actually order the entire armed forces to be here. We have enough armed forces,” he added.
Don’t be scared
He urged the public not to be scared and to report anything unusual or abnormal with the community to the proper authorities.
“Once we get scared, once people panic, the terrorists have already succeeded in their goal,” Domines said.
“Kung talagang may nakita silang threat na mataas, they can coordinate with the PNP or they can go direct to us. Naka-standby lang kami right now.” (If they really spot serious threats, they can coordinate with the PNP or they can go direct to us. We are on standby right now.)
AFP is already mobilizing around 400 personnel that will be under the JTF-NCR, according to the joint task force’s Civil-Military Operations Officer Lieutenant Colonel Warden Zamora.
He said the task force will identify risk areas in Metro Manila, and if deemed necessary, they will request forces to strengthen security in airports, seaports, terminals along Metro Manila, and other important establishments. – Rappler.com