The 13 Maranao missionaries who arrived at the Jagna Port Tuesday dawn was cleared yesterday as doing their legitimate work to spread their religion.
PNP Prov’l Director Felipe Natividad said the individual background of the missionaries were checked from their places of origin, namely from Davao City, Marawi City and other parts of Lanao del Sur, Cagayan de Oro City, Sultan Kudarat, Cebu City, Angeles City and Lapu-Lapu City.
He said the barangay captain of 23-C miniforest Davao City confirmed that the group led by Abulkhair D. Arat as head cluster is doing their provincial sorties appealing for Muslims to pray more fervently amid the threats confronting Mindanao lately.
Anwar M. Datu, another member of the group said they visited the eight mosques in the province, including six based in the city.
The appeal, he said was for Mulims to pray at least thrice a day as part of the preparations for their annual Ramadan.
Datu Manong Ambor, head of the city based Muslim group welcomed the arrival of the missionaries as they can help to convince other Muslims to do their worship regularly in their homes or mosques.
Upon arrival in Jagna, the group immediately coordinated with the Muslim community in barangay Pandan led by a certain Gasa Medal, an imam. Madal vouched the members of the group of missionaries are law abiding citizens in their respective place of origin.
Meanwhile, additional police forces have been stationed in Jagna since Monday to heighten security at the town’s port which receives vessels from Mindanao.
For his part, Bohol police Provincial Intelligence Branch chief Senior Insp. Jojit Mananquil said that the Maranao men were cooperative when they were questioned by authorities.
According to Mananquil, police operatives in the province continued to beef up monitoring operations against any threat following the incursion of Abu Sayyaf bandits into Bohol last month
Police in Central Visayas (CV) remained on alert bracing for a possible spillover of the clashes in Marawi City despite the absence of direct threats to the region, a police official said Thursday.
According to Police Regional Office 7 director Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, a directive has been issued to CV police provincial directors and station commanders ordering heightened security on vital installations.
The PRO-7 was placed under full alert status in accordance with orders from Camp Crame as precautionary measure amid fierce firefights between Maute Group terrorists and security forces in Mindanao which erupted on Tuesday.
Intelligence monitoring across Central Visayas has also been beefed up while more security checkpoints have been set up, Talino said.
The police official also urged the public to remain calm despite the increased presence of police checkpoints along roads in the region.
He said that the augmented police visibility has nothing to do with the imposition of martial law in Mindanao, noting that the heightened security presence is intended to deter attacks.
In Bohol, stringent security has been implemented in entry and exit points such as seaports across the province, said Sr. Insp. Jojie Mananquil, chief of the Bohol police Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB).
Monitoring of passengers from Mindanao in particular has been intensified, he added.
Meanwhile, a Provincial Board (PB) member on Friday allayed public concern on the entry of 13 thobe-clad Muslim missionaries into the province and aroused suspicion of police, as the men who are mostly from Mindanao were immediately identified by authorities.
Board Member Ricky Masamayor, chair of the PB’s committee on peace and order, said that the Maranao men have previously been to Bohol several times as Tablighi missionaries.
The Tablighi is non-political global movement urging Muslims to return to Sunni Islam, the religion’s largest denomination.
Based on reports, the 13 Maranao missionaries who arrived at the Jagna port on Tuesday dawn are from Davao City, Marawi City and other parts of Lanao del Sur, Cagayan de Oro City, Sultan Kudarat, Cebu City, Angeles City and Lapu-Lapu City.
They entered Bohol through a commercial ferry which docked at the Jagna pier at 4 a.m. from Cagayan de Oro City.
The Maranaos purpose in the province is to urge fellow Muslims who have stopped going to mosques to again visit their places of worship, said Masamayor.
Meanwhile, Bohol Provincial Police Office (BPPO) Community Relations Branch chief Supt. George Vale said that there were no discriminatory acts involved in the handling of the Maranao men’s entry into the province.
The missionaries were aware of Bohol’s security situation and had submitted themselves to authorities by showing IDs, said Vale.
For his part, BPPO Provincial Intelligence Branch chief Sr. Insp. Jojit Mananquil noted that the Maranao men were “very” cooperative when they were interviewed by the police.
However, authorities had noted that tight monitoring operations will still be carried out particularly on those who arrive from Mindano amid violent clashes between the ISIS-linked Maute Group and government troops in Marawi City and the implementation of martial law in the region.
The Maranaos are expected to visit areas with mosques such as Ubay, Talibon, Tagbilaran City and Jagna, said Masamayor.
Earlier, police in Jagna coordinated with the Muslim community in Pandan of the said town which is led by Gasa Medal, an imam, after the Maranao men told authorities that they are Muslim missionaries.
Medal reportedly vouched for the missionaries noting that they are law-abiding citizens.