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Metro Manila safe from Maute terrorists – PNP

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday assured members of the House of Representatives that Metro Manila remains a safe place to live in despite reports indicating the presence of relatives and supporters of the local terrorist Maute Group.

Police officers allayed the fears of members of the House committee on Metro Manila development during a hearing on government agencies’ traffic and security plans for the Christmas season

Castelo asked Director Oscar Albayalde, chief of the PNP National Police National Capital Region Police Office (PNP-NCRPO), to confirm reports that several Maute Group members are already in Metro Manila to sow terror.

Albayalde said there were “indications” that Maute supporters are indeed in Metro Manila because of recent arrests of made against some of them in the region.

However, he insisted that Metro Manila was still safe because of cooperation among the various other intelligence units.

“We were able to arrest supporters of Maute. We were also able to arrest suspected ASG during the ASEAN in Culiat, Quezon City so we cannot deny (the reports) anymore,” he stressed.

Members of the House of Representatives committee on Metro Manila Development listen to police assurance that the region is safe from Maute terrorists. Photos by the House of Representatives

Albayalde likewise said law enforcers would further increase their intelligence gathering operations which is very critical in addressing any security threat.

Even before the Marawi siege,  Albayalde said the police had identified and began profiling Maute relatives. He said most of them were actually legitimate entrepreneurs.

Albayalde assured Rep. Edward Vera Perez Maceda (4th District, Manila) about the safe situation in Manila because of the full support from members of the Muslim community, especially those based in Quiapo.

He also said the police has built a PCP (police community precinct) in the district right after the blasts which happened near the Manila Golden Mosque. The police security forces would be augmented by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“After the blast in  Quiapo ecently, we met them and they pledged their support to us and vowed that they would not tolerate extremists,” Albayalde said.

For his part, Maceda said the support for Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and pthe eople’s cooperation with the police was also a big factor in ensuring the safety of Manila residents.

Rep. Vincent Crisologo (1st District, Quezon City) asked about the security plans of the NCRPO for the Christmas season.

Albayalde pointed to improved or increased police visibility in the malls, the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Railway Transit (LRT) stations and the setting up of police assistance desks.

Crisologo stressed that police visibility should be reinforced with very good intelligence gathering and training of police and military personnel.

Albayalde said the NCRPO also secures churches and all open markets especially those in Quiapo, Divisoria and Baclaran during the holiday season.

“We increased our personnel and also put visibility patrols there, and of course police assistance desks,” said Albayalde.#