MORE than 500 police personnel will be deployed by the Manila Police District (MPD) this coming Monday to secure the observance of Eid’l Fitr holiday for Muslims in some areas of Manila.
At a press briefing on Friday, MPD Spokesman Erwin Margarejo said the police officers would secure the areas of Quirino Grandstand and Quiapo Golden Mosque as early as 4 a.m.
These areas, according to Margarejo, are mostly occupied by Muslims who will be observing the important religious holiday for the Islam Filipinos, marking the end of the Ramadan fasting.
“We all know that up to now, we have not downgraded our alert status [in Manila],” he told reporters in Camp Crame, noting the Quiapo bombing incident which prompted the city police to heighten its alert status.
As for the moment, the MPD has not received any threats but this would serve as a “challenge” for the local police.
“The MPD has not been receiving threats for now and those threats will be a challenge for us to heighten our gathering of intelligence and visibility of policemen and we our also asking for the cooperation of our fellow Filipinos to help us,” Margarejo said.
The MPD also assured the public that such threats on June 30 would be validated and assessed and reiterated that it would be a challenge to be faced by the city police.
He also referred to the leaked police memorandum that members of the Islamic State-linked Maute group were planning to bomb several areas in Metro Manila.
“Our district intelligence division is assessing and evaluating [these threats]…as I have said, it will be a challenge for us to heighten our security forces by strengthening our intelligence and target hardening,” the MPD spokesman said.
Even with no threats yet, Margarejo said MPD was aiming to add more plainclothes police officers to be deployed in the areas of Quiapo and Quirino Grandstand over the weekend.
Aside from the security, Margarejo said the MPD has coordinated with the Muslim communities in Manila, as early as April.
“As early as two months ago, when [bombing]incidents began to strike Manila, we had a dialogue with Muslim leaders and our [MPD] District Director sought knowledge of the problems in their areas of responsibility,” he said.
“Our Muslim brothers gave assurance to the MPD that they will be coordinating with regards to security matters in their areas,” Margarejo added.