Police hardens targets in Metro Manila as 2 suspects in Marawi blast identified
The National Capital Region Police Office will deploy more than 11,000 cops in Metro Manila as part of its target hardening efforts to ensure a secure environment during the Yuletide season.
NCRPO director Maj. Gen. Jose Melencio Nartatez Jr. ordered the deployment of 11,414 policemen to various areas, including places of worship, malls, public markets, major thoroughfares, and transportation hubs to ensure peace and order.
Nartatez also instructed all commanders in the five police districts in Metro Manila (Manila, Quezon City, Northern, Southern, and Eastern) to enforce maximum police visibility around churches during the traditional nine-day dawn masses (Simbang Gabi) or “Misa de Gallo.”
The Philippine National Police earlier went on heightened alert in Metro Manila and on red alert in Mindanao following a deadly bomb attack in Mindanao State University in Marawi that left four people dead and several others wounded.
PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo on Wednesday identified two suspects in the bombing as Kadapi Mimbesa alias “Engineer” and Arsani Membesa alias “Khatab.”
The military said it was also validating the claim of the Islamic State and the Dawlah Islamiyah – Maute Group that they were responsible for the explosion.
For his part, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri called on regional and local executives of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to monitor alleged radicalization efforts after the 2017 Marawi Siege.
“There are radicalization efforts after the Marawi Siege. These are relatives and friends of those who died in the incident,” he said in an interview after an executive session with Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. and intelligence officials to discuss the Marawi bomb attack.
“We have to urge the BARMM government and local officials to monitor the radicalization efforts. These will persist,” he added.
ABS-CBN on Tuesday reported the improvised explosive device used in the bomb attack was contained in a black tote bag.
Citing a well-placed source, the news outlet said the bomb was composed of a 60mm mortar and a rocket-propelled grenade.
In Metro Manila, Nartatez said police assistance desks have been established near church entrances for immediate attention to emergencies.
“Ensuring a secure and joyous yuletide season is of utmost importance, and as we approach this festive time, NCRPO remains committed in terms of readiness and capability in its endeavor to ensure peaceful and orderly celebration,” he said.