GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/16 Aug) – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has tapped private security guards in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao to augment its intensified anti-terrorism operations within the region.
Police Director Felicisimo Khu, chief of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations-Western Mindanao, said they launched earlier this month a series of trainings and seminars on anti-terrorism and security awareness for private security guards in the region to help improve their capability on monitoring and handling terror incidents and other related scenarios.
He said they are aiming to cover all active private security guards in the region for the trainings and seminars, which were scheduled until September.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
“We started with basic bomb safety awareness seminars and these will run for a month and a half,” Khu said.
The official said they launched the anti-terrorism trainings and seminars for the security guards to help combat the spate of bomb attacks and the continuing terror threats in the region in the past several months.
The Police Regional Office 12 earlier conducted bomb safety awareness seminars for various sectors in the region, including the media.
On Monday, two people, including a provincial board member of Maguindanao, were killed while several others were injured when a powerful car bomb exploded along the national highway in Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat province.
The explosion happened as the convoy of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu was passing by the area around 3:20 p.m.
Last Saturday, authorities also recovered an improvised bomb fashioned from an 81-mm mortar shell at the Tacurong City public terminal and another along the highway of Datu Unsay town in Maguindanao.
Early Friday morning, a bomb also exploded in Kidapawan City in North Cotabato, killing two people, including the suspected bomber.
Khu said the seminars will help private security guards become more aware and capable in responding to possible bomb attacks and terrorism-related incidents within their assigned areas.
“This will also boost our security operations, considering that the combined strength of our private security guards actually outnumbers our entire police force in the region,” he said.
Citing their records, he said Region 12 has around 6,500 active security guards while the region’s police force comprises around 4,500 officers and rank-and-file personnel. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)