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Heightened alert in Palawan

The government has placed security forces on “heightened alert” in Palawan after the United States warned of potential kidnapping threats in the popular tourist destination.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the government is “on top of the situation” but also asked the public to remain calm yet vigilant.

“We assure everyone that the government is on top of the situation and authorities, particularly those in the Western Command (WESCOM) which covers the province of Palawan, are on heightened alert to prevent any untoward incidents,” said Abella.

The embassy of the United States earlier advised its citizens about the threat of terror groups to kidnap foreigners in Palawan province, including Puerto Princesa. Similar travel alerts were issued by Canada and the United Kingdom.

Abella said the military, along with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), as well as the local government of Palawan, are working closely together in enforcing law and order.

The President Duterte earlier ordered the military to “shoot on sight” terrorists and lawless elements following the reported kidnapping threat in Palawan. Duterte said the soldiers should finish off the terrorists, saying he does not want to take care of injured criminals in the hospital. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)