The Philippine National Police has been ordered to intensify security measures after the United States issued a travel warning due to reported imminent kidnappings in Cebu.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said authorities are still verifying the reported security threats in Cebu but assured that steps have been taken to protect the public from harm.
“There was indeed a police report regarding a plan to stage a kidnapping in southern Cebu. The report is in the process of being validated,” Abella said.
“The PNP commanders at various levels have taken the necessary steps to harden or protect possible targets. Moreover, other measures are being undertaken in public venues to safeguard crowds from harm,” he added.
The Police Regional Office 7 has advised the public, especially foreigners, to remain calm amid the travel warning.
The PRO 7 assured the public that the police are on top of the situation in Cebu and that the province and the entire Central Visayas are safe and secure to live, work, and do business in.
PRO 7 director Chief Supt. Noli Taliño said all areas in the region frequented by foreigners are augmented with additional PNP personnel to implement the tightened security coverage. “There is no direct threat to our security,” said Taliño.
Taliño said coordination with the other counterparts, AFP, and the Philippine Coast Guard was also initiated to further intensify the security measures implemented in every places of convergence such as hotels, resorts, beaches, and tourist destinations.
The intelligence community of PRO7 and Central Command are also constantly monitoring threat groups. At present, there is no direct threat sighted or monitored threat groups in the region.
Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III said the Cebu Provincial Police Office is still validating the reports.
However, he called on all Cebuanos and tourists to be vigilant. “Keep necessary contact numbers of nearest police stations in your area and avoid travels unless necessary,” Davide said. (GENALYN D. KABILING • MARS W. MOSQUEDA JR.)