Cotabato PNP, Marines apply stricter safety measures following car bomb attack

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THE Cotabato City Police and the Philippine Marines on Thursday is started imposing stricter safety measures in the city to avoid other bomb attacks in the future.

If the use of crash helmets is mandatory to all motorcycle drivers in most cities around the country, starting Thursday night, motorcycle drivers here have been banned from using closed crash helmets.

Parked vehicles without its drivers along Sinsuat Avenue will be towed by the traffic enforcers, according to authorities.

Senior Supt. Rolen Balquin, city police director, said that these are some of the measures implemented by the Cotabato City Police and the Philippine Marines to prevent similar attacks in the future.

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Balquin said the five-kilometer stretch Sinsuat Avenue, the main highway in Cotabato City, has been declared “no parking area” for any four-wheel vehicle without its driver.

“This is to protect commuters and avoid similar car bomb attack in the future,” Balquin said after meeting with government law enforcers and local officials in the aftermath of August 5 car bomb attack.

He said traffic enforcers will tow vehicles parked along Sinsuat Avenue if remained unattended.

Motorcycle drivers are strictly prohibited to use closed crash helmet while moving around town, especially at night.Balquin explained that most crime against life in the city had been carried out by suspects riding tandem on motorbikes with crash helmets.

Balquin added that residents who fire their guns indiscriminately or people who will use firecrackers would also be arrested.

He explained that all of these are meant to ensure the safety of city residents who have been shaken by the powerful car bomb attack on Monday afternoon that authorities said targeted the vehicle of Cotabato City administrator Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi.

Balquin reiterated calls for public support by reporting to authorities any suspicious cars, motorcycles or individuals in the city.

Three groups are eyed in the car bomb attack and the series of improvised explosive devices explosions in Cotabato City, Maguindanao and North Cotabato the past week.

These are the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a breakaway rebel group turned into banditry, Abu Sayaff Group and local terrorists with links to regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah.

Following the incidents, local government executives and the police provincial offices have instituted measures to ensure safety of citizens.

In Midsayap, North Cotabato, curfew starting nine in the evening until 5 in the morning had been implemented after a powerful IED went off in front of a pawnshop in Wednesday morning.

In Kabacan, North Cotabato, another North Cotabato town target for bombing according to Army and police intelligence operatives, more policemen were deployed around the town center.

Kabacan had been subjected to several IED bomb attacks.

Policemen and soldiers are also on heightened alert in Kidapawan City and in Tacurong City, another areas where suspected lawless elements are reportedly planning to sow terror. PNA

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