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Police tighten security in Cebu, Central Visayas after Davao blast

CEBU, Philippines – The Central Visayas is now on full alert a day after an explosion hit a Davao City night market on Friday, September 2. The attack killed at least 14 people and injured more than 60. (READ: Explosion hits Davao night market)

"Naka-full alert status ang Philippine National Police. Lahat 'yan ay babantayan natin," said Central Visayas Police Regional Director Noli Taliño.

(The Philippine National Police is on full alert status. We'll guard all places.)

He told reporters that more police patrols will be deployed to "places of convergence like malls, terminals, airports, and seaports."

Taliño said they did not receive reports of any specific threats, but would "not be complacent."

Police officials said more checkpoints would be set up across the Central Visayas. However, he did not give exact numbers on how many these would be.

Cebu City security

Deputy Cebu City Director Superintendent Artemio Ricabo told the public to stay home in the meantime if they have no "pressing matters to attend to."

He told Sun.Star Cebu that Cebuanos should "report new faces who are foreign-speaking and not in our dialect."

In Cebu City, Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CCDRRMC) chief Nigel Banacia also advised residents to stay home.

He said in a Facebook post to "avoid posting unverified and official information to avoid panic."  

Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak met with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Central Command earlier Saturday. Tumulak told Rappler in a phone interview, "The 41st Infantry Division would be ready to augment local police if they are needed."

"Everyone from the barangay captains to mall security have been asked to be on alert and report suspicious persons and activity," Tumulak said in Cebuano. 

"We also have inspected police and emergency response vehicles and equipment, and we will be ready," he said.

Tumulak told the public not to be alarmed by more checkpoints around the city. "These are only precautionary measures but there is no reason to panic as there is no specific threat to our city," he said. 

A state of lawlessness was declared nationwide, meaning more police would be deployed and security checkpoints set up. (READ: What's a 'state of lawlessness'?

Earlier on Saturday, Metro Manila was placed under full alert before PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa ordered the entire country to be on full alert.  (For updates on the Davao blast, check Rappler's live blog)

Airport security

The Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) was also placed under heightened alert following the attack in Davao.

"While there is no specific threat to the MCIA at the moment, the measures are precautionary in nature and are designed to ensure the best possible level of protection afforded to passengers and staff at the airport," the MCIA Authority said in a statement.

They said that there would be increased police visibility inside and outside the terminal. "Vehicles entering the MCIA complex would be stopped and checked at the PAGASA checkpoint, backed up by a Lapu-Lapu City PNP Swat team."

They said they would update passengers on security measures through their social media channels.

Mandaue City

Mandaue City will respond to the attack by strictly implementing a curfew for minors. Unaccompanied minors will not be allowed outside between 11 pm and 4 am.

Mandaue City Mayor Luigi Quisumbing said in a statement: "Please stay safe and report any suspicious activity to the 911 hotline or to our command center. I would like to emphasize that there are no current threats to the city, but I will also not allow any complacency."

Metro Cebu is the second-biggest metropolitan area in the Philippines after Metro Manila with 2.8 million people. – Rappler.com

Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.

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