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Visayas maritime security boosted

Published June 14, 2017, 10:01 PM

By Tara Yap

Iloilo City With the terrorist attack in Marawi City in their mind, law enforcement agencies are strengthening maritime security in the Visayas, whose coasts are vulnerable to terrorist attack. Chief Superintendent Cesar Hawthorne Binag, director of Police Regional Office (PRO-6), said this was the consensus among officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). Binag said the vulnerability of coastal areas in Western, Central and Eastern Visayas was highlighted during the recent Visayas Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Council (VJPSCC) meeting here.

Aside from the Marawi incident, Binag also reminded that a group from the Abu Sayyaf was able to infiltrate Bohol last April after landing in a coastal town.

We don t want a spillover of the threats to other parts of the Visayas, Binag told Manila Bulletin. Another high priority is securing popular tourist spots in the Visayas, especially the country s premier beach destination of Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan. Lieutenant General Oscar Lactao, AFP s highest ranking officer in the Visayas, noted during the meeting that damage to tourist destinations can be felt on the national level. Lactao urged for stronger measures to preempt any major incident.

Also attending the VJPSCC meeting was PNP Director for the Visayas Moro Virgillo Lazo.

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