Mayor Joseph Estrada on Wednesday placed Manila under tight watch and ordered the police to set up checkpoints and conduct more patrols to ensure that the violence in Marawi City will not reach the city.
Estrada directed 4,600 Manila policemen to increase their patrol around Malacañang Palace and other government offices and major installation that could be targeted by extremist groups.
“To the Manileños, please rest assured that our law enforcement units are on guard to protect our city,” he said. “Remain calm but be vigilant. You have nothing to worry about as of this moment.”
Estrada directed Manila Police District Director Joel Coronel to use all available assets to preserve peace and order and thwart any attempts by lawless elements to sow chaos or terror.
Coronel said Malacañang is ringed with security checkpoints. Foot and mobile patrols are being held in coordination with the Presidential Security Group (PSG).
“We are on full alert to prevent the incident from Marawi City to spill over in Metro Manila. There might be diversionary actions so we have to prepare for it,” he said.
Coronel added that 300 more policemen will be deployed to secure the observance of the holy month of Ramadan which will start on May 27.
Anti-riot policemen were also stationed at the US Embassy and at the Supreme Court in Ermita to counter possible mass actions by militant organizations.
Terror attacks had hit the city of Manila in the past. In December 2000, terrorists bombed Plaza Ferguson in Malate and an LRT-1 coach that left 22 people dead.
Recently, three bombing incidents occurred in Quiapo but authorities said the explosions were not terror-related.
Makati Mayor Abby Binay also on Wednesday called on her constituents to remain calm and vigilant amid the conflict in Marawi City and the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
“It should be business as usual in the country’s financial center,” Binay said.
The mayor expressed solidarity with those affected by the recent violence in Marawi.
“Our prayers go out to our brothers and sisters in Mindanao,” she said.
The mayor ordered the Makati Police Department to undertake precautionary measures to keep Makati and its people safe.
“I am directing the Makati police to take the needed steps to ensure the safety of the city and its citizens,” she said. KENNETH HERNANDEZ