The government has placed security forces on “heightened alert” in Palawan after the United States warned of potential kidnapping threats in the popular tourist destination.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the government is “on top of the situation” but also asked the public to remain calm yet vigilant.
“Public safety is everyone’s concern,” Abella said in a statement. “We assure everyone that the government is on top of the situation and authorities, particularly those in the Western Command (WESCOM) which covers the province of Palawan, are on heightened alert to prevent any untoward incidents,” he added.
Abella said the military, along with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), as well as the local government of Palawan, are working closely together in enforcing law and order.
“All units and assets are being utilized to ensure maximum security to deny any terrorist group’s entry and access in the high seas and coastal areas,” he said.
While the government steps up security measures, Abella also called for public cooperation to help in keeping peace and order.
“We urge everyone’s cooperation, including residents and tourists, to be mindful and immediately report to law enforcement units any questionable individual or activity in the areas,” he said.
The embassy of the United States earlier advised its citizens about the threat of terror groups to kidnap foreigners in Palawan province, including Puerto Princesa. Similar travel alerts were issued by Canada and the United Kingdom.
By Genalyn Kabiling Manila Bulletin