More cops deployed to worship sites in city

CATHOLICS pray inside the Jaro Cathedral in Iloilo City on the eve of the feast of Our Lady of Candles, Feb 1, 2019. The city government called on the police to enhance their presence in places of worship to prevent terror attacks. (Ricky Alejo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

PROMPTED by the recent terror attacks in Mindanao and the alleged presence of terrorist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) in the city, Mayor Jose Espinosa III ordered heightened police visibility in places of worship in Iloilo City.

During a command conference on Friday, Espinosa emphasized the need to be ready following the bombing incidents particularly in the worship sites in Mindanao.

“We are just being prudent nga bantayan ta man for any eventuality because ang sa bombing sa Mindanao, it involved a cathedral and mosque. I want nga may presence so dapat ang police nga kada distrito, tan-awon gid  ang mga simbahan kag mamaintain kita sang presence,” he emphasized.

The mayor also ordered the police to identify all the chapels, churches, and mosques around the city.

“Lantawon ta from time to time ang religious services and also to assure our people na we are there and we are ready for any unforeseen event,” he said.

Aside from enhanced police visibility, security plans of all the worship places including their security cameras must also be reviewed, Espinosa said.

On Sunday, two explosions hit a Catholic cathedral in Jolo, Sulu, leaving 21 persons dead and around 100 injured.

A grenade also rocked a mosque in Zamboanga City on Wednesday killing two people and injuring four others.

Recently, SMS or text messaging claiming that ISIS members are allegedly planning attacks in the city spread via social media.

One of the messages indicated that ISIS members are already in Iloilo City to launch attacks during the Jaro fiesta.

But, the Police Regional Office 6 (Western Visayas) was quick to deny it and labelled the information as “fake news”.