Davao’s Public Safety, Security Center partners with Interpol
By Lilian C. Mellejor and Lovely A. Carillo
DAVAO CITY (Philippines News Agency) — The city’s Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC) has partnered with Interpol as the city government further intensify security in the city after the Sept. 2 bomb explosion at the Roxas night market.
Chief Information Officer Jefry Tupas said the collaboration effort was an initiative of newly-assumed Chief of the PSSCC Ret. Gen. Benito de Leon.
Tupas said the tie-up made Davao City the first local government in the country to partner with Interpol or International Criminal Police Organization, which facilitated international police cooperation.
De Leon announced this Tuesday with an aim to beef up intelligence monitoring of lawless groups and their activities – a thrust that he promised when he assumed office on Monday.
De Leon said they were also using other means to strengthen intelligence gathering, particularly through the Interpol database and the fusion of all the intelligence network in the city and outside the city.
Through the partnership, the PSSCC can access the Interpol database to better monitor any international threat in the city.
De Leon, however, clarified the initiative was not to monitor an international terrorist group’s involvement in the Sept. 2 bombing.
“There is no international group behind the incident (Roxas night market bombing). It is just something that is isolated,” he added.
Tupas said the Interpol was a France-based organization composed of 190 member-countries whose work focused primarily on public safety and battling terrorism, crimes against humanity, environmental crime, genocide, war crimes, organized crime, piracy, illicit traffic in works of art, illicit drug production, drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering, child pornography, white-collar crime, computer crime, intellectual property crime, and corruption.
Meanwhile, Task Force Davao (TFD) has increased its anti-terrorism drive to create more awareness among Dabawenyos and keep the city safe.
“We intend to raise the level of awareness of the public and all stakeholders on the threats of terrorism, raise the level of preparedness of all security forces in Davao in coordination with the Philippine National Police and Central 911,” said Col. Erwin Bernard Neri, newly appointed commander of the TFD during a courtesy call at the City Council Tuesday.
Neri, who assumed command of TFD on Sept. 8, is a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy batch 1988 and was previously chief of the united command staff of the Eastern Mindanao Command.
If Neri’s proposals push through, Davaoenos and visitors can expect more stringent security measures such as the placement of walk-through scanners and x-ray baggage machines at the Davao City Overland Transport Terminal.
TFD is also eyeing the establishment of fixed checkpoints with bays at the entry points of the city, particularly in Lasang, Lacson and Sirawan with x-ray baggage machines and scanners capable of detecting bombs and other illegal items.
Neri said among the immediate plans of TFD in coordination with the other security enforcement agencies included the conduct of a dialogue with different sectors for anti-terrorism awareness and conduct of anti-terrorism forum.
“Also included is the conduct of an inter-operability and capability enhancement training with the police and Central 911 with other law enforcement agencies on bomb drills, maritime exercises and crisis action planning,” he said.
Neri said there were various threat groups that potentially targeted the city like the Bangsamoro Independent Freedom Fighters (BIFF) which operates in Maguindanao and North Cotabato; Ansar al-Khilafah which operates in Sarangani, Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat and General Santos City, and the Abu Sayyaf Group which is primarily based in the provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
The city has been a value target because it is an economic hub and regional center in Mindanao. (PNA)