Coast Guard Western Visayas on heightened alert

All ports in Western Visayas are now on heightened alert following the bombings in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat and port of Masbate, according to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in the region.

In a phone interview Monday, PCG Western Visayas spokesperson Lt. Commander Ramil Palabrica said the security measures in ports have been beefed up and intensified.

These include the strict inspection of baggage and wharf, and the deployment of K-9 dogs in ports of Iloilo, Dumangas, Roxas, and Caticlan.

He added that they are closely coordinating with the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army for information about possible illegal activities in ports and piers.

Palabrica said they have yet to receive reports of potential threats, except from the bombing at the Masbate port where their aluminum boat has incurred damage.

Meanwhile, Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III, in a separate interview after the flag-raising ceremony, said the policemen have been alerted since two weeks ago. The ports of entry were also checked.

“We were assured that our coasts are guarded,” he said.

Like the PCG, his office has yet to receive any report of a possible threat for this highly-urbanized city from the intelligence community.

In line with this, he appealed to Ilonggos to report any suspicious belongings to any security personnel so that appropriate action can be undertaken.

“If there are abandoned backpacks or boxes and no one has come forward to claim them, immediately inform the security officers of the building so they can be reported to the bomb disposal units,” he said.PNA