MANILA, Philippines – Former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada ordered Manila police to "double security deployment" around the city beginning Wednesday, May 24, following the clash in Marawi City in the southern Philippines the previous day.
"To the Manileños, please rest assured that our law enforcement units are on guard to protect our city," Estrada said at the Manila City Hall. "In the meantime, remain calm but be vigilant. You have nothing to worry about as of this moment."
Estrada directed the 4,600-strong Manila Police District (MPD) to put up security checkpoints and increase patrols around Malacañang Palace and in the vicinity of other government centers and major installations in the city that "could be targeted by Islamist militants."
In an interview, MPD Director Chief Superintendent Joel Coronel said checkpoints are in place in the Malacañang grounds, along with 24/7 foot and mobile patrols in coordination with the Presidential Security Group (PSG).
"We are on full alert to prevent the incident from Marawi City to spill over [to] Metro Manila. Baka magkaroon ng mga diversionary actions (There could be diversionary actions) so we have to prepare for it," the MPD chief said.
From 452 armed cops deployed to secure the observance of the holy month of Ramadan – which will start Friday, May 26 – Coronel said they have added around 300 more for the overall security of Manila.
Anti-riot policemen have also been stationed at the United States embassy in Roxas Boulevard and at the Supreme Court in Ermita to counter possible protests.
Aside from Manila, other local government units in Metro Manila have called for tighter security measures.
Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista released a statement on Tuesday evening, May 23, saying that checkpoints have been established and security patrols have been mobilized throughout the city.
Makati Mayor Abigail Binay on Wednesday afternoon called on residents of the city to be vigilant. But she also assured them it is "business as usual" in the country's financial capital. – Rappler.com