Security has been “tripled” at the Tagbilaran City Tourist Port amid the continued clashes between Maute Group bandits and government troops in Marawi City, said a Philippine Ports Authority official.
According to port manager Engr. James Gantalao, stringent security measures have been implemented in the facility as precaution against a spillover of the intense firefights in the Mindanao city.
Gantalao also cited possible retaliation by the Abu Sayyaf after 11 of its members were killed in the province in May and April as among reasons to better secure the pier area.
Gov. Edgar Chatto had also issued a directive to port officials to intensify monitoring of passengers that arrive at the pier and also vehicles that enter the facility.
Even custodial personnel and other non-security personnel have also been briefed on spotting suspicious individuals in the port area, said Gantalao.
Prior to Chatto’s directive, the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine National Police have already contributed in beefing up security at the port, he added.
Meanwhile, the port official also aired the need for x-ray machines at the Jagna port where vessels from Mindanao dock.
The seaports of Tagbilaran City and Tubigon already have the said equipment, he said.
While authorities have pointed out that there are no direct threats against the province, officials including Gantaloa continue to urge the public to be vigilant.
He also asked people who enter the port premises to cooperate with security personnel as they carry out strict precautionary measures against threats. (R. Tutas)