R12 police on alert as classes start, Independence Day rites approaching

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/6 June) – Police authorities in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao directed all police units in the region to maintain a full alert status in connection with the opening of regular classes beginning Monday and the Independence Day celebration on June 12.

Chief Supt. Benjardi Mantele, Region 12 police director, said Monday they raised the area’s alert level in line with the full implementation of their security plan for the resumption of classes in all private and public schools as well as colleges and universities within the region.

He said the move was also aimed at averting possible disruptions by lawless elements during the upcoming Independence Day celebrations.

“This means that all our units, including those assigned at the regional office, are currently on full security deployment,” Mantele said.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Under the Police Regional Office 12’s Balik Eskwela program, the police official said all provincial, city and municipal police units were mandated to prioritize the deployment of personnel in every school in the region.

He ordered all provincial and city police directors to be more vigilant and double their efforts in intelligence gathering, police visibility, maintenance of checkpoints and chokepoints and regular coordination with local government units, non-government organizations and community stakeholders to help preempt any unlawful act or movements by criminal and lawless elements within their areas.

Mantele said he emphasized the strict implementation of policies and guidelines of the police integrated patrol system, which focuses on the strengthening of the defense plans of police stations and the conduct of extensive mobile and foot patrols in their areas of responsibilities.

“We’re closely watching the vendors outside the school campuses, terminals as well as some individuals who stay around the schools’ premises as they may affect the security and safety of our students, teachers and other school personnel,” he said.

He advised local police personnel to do their duties and responsibilities with hard-work and dedication, adhere to the “Tamang Bihis” or proper wearing of police uniforms and maintain courtesy and discipline at all times.

Mantele said the entire region so far remained peaceful and they have not recorded any untoward incident related with the opening of the regular classes and the upcoming Independence Day celebration.

“We can’t afford to be complacent about our security since even a small lapse may eventually lead to a major problem,” he said.

Last week, at least two improvised explosives were recovered and detonated by police operatives near a shopping mall in Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat.

Senior Supt. Danilo Peralta, Sultan Kudarat police director, earlier said their investigation showed that the seized explosives were about to be transported by members of an alleged local terrorist cell to key cities in the region. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)