The Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (POR-7) urged the public to remain calm after the US Embassy on Thursday issued a security advisory to its citizens on traveling to southern Cebu amid purported threats of kidnapping.
Senior Supt. Dennis Agustin, PRO-7 chief directorial staff, confirmed the travel alert but assured the public that the region remains safe as intensified security measures by the police and military remain in place.
He said that policemen and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Central Command have also been deployed to secure hotels, resorts, coastal areas and tourist destinations in the region.
The US Embassy pinpointed the areas of Dalaguete, Santander and Sumilon in Oslob Town as places to avoid as it noted that terrorist groups are planning to conduct kidnapping in said areas.
â€œThe U.S. Embassy alerts U.S. citizens that terrorist groups are planning to conduct kidnappings in areas frequented by foreigners on the southern portion of Cebu Island,â€ the US Embassy alert read.
For his part, Lieutenant Col. Dodjie Belloga, commanding officer of the Philippine Armyâ€™s 47th Infantry Battalion (IB), said that there are no Abu Sayaff bandits in Bohol.
However, he noted that they will not be complacent as the 47th IB sustains its monitoring operations.
Maritime forces have also been alerted as the Coast Guard and Navy have intensified their patrol of waters surrounding the region, authorities said.
Last week, the PRO-7 alerted its forces over possible presence of Abu Suyaff members in Cebu but immediately admitted that it was a false alarm a day after the warning was issued on October 24.
The pronouncement was reportedly made based on information from police in Zamboanga City but Cebu and the rest of the region were cleared of Abu Sayaff presence through monitoring operations. (Rey Tutas and Allen Doydora)Â
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