Police raises alert in GenSan as holiday season approaches

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 12 Dec) – Authorities have raised anew the security alert in this city in preparation for the upcoming Christmas and New Year festivities in the area.

Senior Supt. Froilan Quidilla, city police director, said Thursday they placed the entire city under heightened alert to ensure the area’s security during the city’s annual Christmas festivity dubbed “Paskuhan sa GenSan 2013.”

“We have already laid out our security plan and all our personnel are currently on alert and ready to respond to any eventuality,” he said.

The city’s Christmas festivity, which had a soft launching last December 6, will formally open on December 17.

The activities, which are mainly centered at the oval plaza here, will conclude with a grand fireworks display and public New Year countdown on December 31.

Quidilla said the Army-led Joint Task Force GenSan is currently augmenting the security operations, especially at the city’s entry and exit points.

The task force has been conducting security checks on all vehicles, especially public utility buses and passenger vans, entering the city through its four major checkpoints, he said.

The official said they also tapped local civilian volunteers and personnel from other government law enforcement agencies as force multipliers.

Quidilla admitted that various security threats have persisted in the city since the foiled bombing attempt on a local gasoline station last November 3.

Police investigators had tagged several alleged trained bombers of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) as behind the incident.

Quidilla urged local residents to be extra vigilant and assist them in their security monitoring and intelligence operations.

“If you notice any suspicious person or group of persons, packages and vehicles, please report them immediately to the media or the nearest police station,” he added.

Meantime, City Administrator Arnel Zapatos said the city’s transport groups have committed to assist in the area’s security monitoring during the holidays.

Local members of the Moro National Liberation Front, through its community arm Unified Movement for Peace and Order, also vowed to launch security mobilizations in strategic areas in the city during the Christmas and New Year celebrations.