Philippine military declares maximum security status in tourist areas


MANILA, Philippines – The military command declared a maximum security alert status in tourism areas in the Visayas following two explosions that injured three people in Palawan province on Maundy Thursday, an official said Friday.

Army Major Enrico Gil Ileto, spokesperson of the military’s 3rd Infantry Division, told local media that sufficient military personnel were dispatched in tourism areas to provide intelligence and monitoring.

“Your soldiers will continue with its day-to-day peace and security operations to ensure the safe and secure observance of the Holy Week,” said Ileto.

Among the tourism areas being monitored in Central Philippines were the Boracay Island, Guimaras and Iloilo provinces.

The Philippine National Police also deployed more personnel to conduct checkpoints and chokepoints in the said tourism areas.

At least three people were reported hurt in two bomb blasts that hit El Nido and Puerto Princesa City in Palawan province, Thursday afternoon.

The blast came at the peak of tourism arrivals in the province as the more people take advantage of the Lent’s long weekend.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo has been quoted in television reports as saying that the blasts could have been meant to sow terror.

Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn, meanwhile, said that he does not believe theories that the blasts were a handiwork of local terrorist groups.

Authorities are also looking at the possibility of the communist movement’s involvement in the attack.