Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale urged all barangay captains in the province to activate their Barangay Intelligence Network (BIN) especially those coastal villages to help thwart the entry of the remnants of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) who are still on the run after clashing with government forces in Inabanga, Bohol.
“Residents could easily identify new faces who will enter their barangays. If they are the ones reporting to us through the Barangay Intelligence Network, chances are high that their information can be reliable. They are the best source of information,” Magpale said in a sideline interview during the 888 News Forum on Tuesday, April 18.
Magpale advised village officials to immediately contact the nearest authorities or the Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Office if they notice suspicious individuals arriving in their areas so they could swiftly act on the information.
Sightings of arrivals of armed men in Alcoy, Cordova, Argao, Carcar City, San Fernando, Samboan and Camotes Island were circulating on the social media and were relayed to the authorities. But the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) found no threats in these places after verifying the information.
Meanwhile, Magpale was not surprised of the special travel advisory released by the South Korean foreign ministry on Monday.
“I think it’s related to the Inabanga, Bohol incident. In fact, I’m expecting that South Korea will also issue a travel advisory considering they have the highest number of tourists in Cebu and Bohol,” she said.
There are at least 35,000 Korean nationals present in Cebu who are comprised of students, tourists, permanent residents, among others.
The United States Embassy was the first to release a travel warning followed by the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.
The vice governor admitted that the ASG’s bold move in Bohol would have a ripple effect on the tourism industry of its neighboring provinces.
“Duna nay dutay na effect labi na og dili pa madakpan kanang lima,” said Magpale referring to the remaining ASG members who have been eluding the military and police forces after their firefight in Bohol that left 10 people dead.
Quoting Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, director of the Police Regional Office (PRO 7), Magpale said that Cebu is safe and that police officials assured her they would do their best to keep the province out of harm’s way from terror attacks. (KC)