ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews/29 May) — The city police office clarified that no lockdown has been ordered in the city in response to the ongoing clashes in neighboring Marawi City between government forces and members of the Maute group.
Police issued the clarification Sunday night after word circulated that a lockdown was to be implemented soonest, as per announcement of the City Information Office through its Facebook page.
The word spread like wildfire and even prompted several residents to pack up things so they can travel out of the city before a set deadline can be announced.
“Be informed that only containment action is being implemented through strong checkpoints and several mobile checkpoints at the heart of the city including police visibility to negate the occurrence of a similar incident in Marawi City,” a Facebook post by the city police read.
It was issued around 9pm Sunday.
“Anybody can get in and out of the city provided that they have not violated any law or caught carrying contraband, firearms, explosives, and others, as everybody will have to pass through strict and thorough security inspection,” the post further read.
Soon after, the City Information Office (CIO) took down its earlier Facebook post and promised to make another announcement related to the issue.
Netizens took the CIO to task for the confusion.
Journalist Divina Suson lambasted city information officer Joe Pantoja whom she said even allowed himself to be interviewed by a Cagayan de Oro City radio to announce the impending lockdown.
It turned out that Pantoja made the premature pronouncement while city officials were in the middle of a meeting to discuss, among others, the possibility of imposing a lockdown as a measure to prevent a spillover here of the Marawi siege.
Since Wednesday last week, the police has set up a checkpoint near the mothballed plant of the National Steel Corporation in barangay Suarez for incoming vehicles and passengers.
The checkpoint has slowed down the movement of vehicles into the city, even taking four hours of wait at peak travel hours of the day. (Ryan Rosauro/for MindaNews)