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Police visibility increases in Metro after Davao blast

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) in Metro Manila has been on full alert since midnight of Saturday, September 3 – hours after the deadly blast at the Roxas Night Market in Davao City.

Police Senior Superintendent Rhoderick Armamento, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Regional Operations Division, said they will maximize full patrol deployment and put up more checkpoints in Metro Manila.

"Before, kung 60% lang 'yung nasa labas namin, ngayon we see to it na 90% of our troops ay nagpa-patrol, at 10% lang 'yung naiiwan sa opisina. 'Yun 'yung pagbabago ngayon. Makakakita kayo ng medyo madaming pulis ngayon na umiikot especially sa mga malls, sa mga centers, sa mga LRTs [and] MRT," he added.

(Before, if only 60% of our troops go out, now we see to it that 90% of our troops are going on patrols, and only 10% stay in offices. That's what has changed. You will see a bit more police forces going around, especially in malls, in centers, in the LRTs and MRT.)

NCRPO officials were in a meeting with the Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) Joint Task Force-National Capital Region (JTF-NCR) on Saturday to consolidate all intelligence in the wake of the Davao blast.

The AFP has decided to augment the police's visibility patrols and checkpoints in Metro Manila with its armed forces. (READ: After Davao bombing, AFP on heightened alert in Metro)

"'Yung aming checkpoints in-intensify na rin 'yung checkpoints namin katulad nung nakaraang elections. Lahat nung strategic places na dating nilagyan namin, nagkaroon ulit kami ngayon," Armamento explained.

(Like in the past elections, we have intensified security in our checkpoints. We've placed checkpoints in strategic places again.)

JOINT TASK FORCE. Police Senior Superintendent Rhoderick Armamento from the National Capital Region Police Office and Brigadier General Roberto Domines from the Armed Forces of the Philippines discuss plans to secure Metro Manila after the Davao blast. Photo by Jee Y. Geronimo/Rappler

JOINT TASK FORCE. Police Senior Superintendent Rhoderick Armamento from the National Capital Region Police Office and Brigadier General Roberto Domines from the Armed Forces of the Philippines discuss plans to secure Metro Manila after the Davao blast. Photo by Jee Y.

Geronimo/Rappler

The NCRPO has also put the police on forward deployment in public places of convergence to increase and enhance police visibility.

After the deadly explosion on Friday night, September 2, President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday declared a "state of lawlessness" in the country.  (For updates on the Davao blast, check Rappler's live blog)

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.

Brigadier General Roberto Domines, commander of the JTF-NCR, said that with the declaration of a "state of lawlessness," the AFP is now empowered to augment the PNP in its security operations.

"There will be no independent military operations to be conducted. We will always be in tandem with the PNP," Domines said in a mix of English and Filipino. 

On the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) claiming responsibility for the blast, Domines said: "What else is new? 'Yun naman palaging ginagawa nila (They always do that), so all we have to do is enhance our operations and be prepared for anything."

He again urged people not to panic, assuring them "they will feel [more] secure with the increased number of AFP and PNP personnel in the streets."

As of Saturday evening, 14 have been reported killed – 10 of them died in the blast site, while 4 died in the hospital. Of the more than 60 wounded, 15 underwent surgery while 3 have been discharged, Dr Leonardo de Vega, chief of the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) hospital, said.

"Tiny shrapnels" were found in the victims' bodies, according to him. "Most of them sustained massive shrapnel injuries in the liver and 15 were operated on." – Rappler.com

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.

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