Security operations at the Davao Gulf intensified to prevent members of the Islamic State-linked Maute group from entering Eastern Mindanao by sea, an official of the Philippine Navy announced on Saturday.
In an interview, Lieutenant James Reyes, public affairs chief, for the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao (NFEM), said the NFEM was inspecting civilian boats and ships.
“All the in and out boats, we check it randomly. Especially those registered as fishing boats boarding so many persons, that is really suspicious,” Reyes said in an interview.
“If we see something suspicious, even if they are riding jetskis or yachts, we will surely check that,” he added.
Patrol boats and gunboats coming from the NFEM have been placed along the “strategic areas”, according to Reyes.
Among the boats being monitored for the possible entry of Maute members and other terrorists are those fleeing from the Marawi or surrounding areas.
“We are not removing of this kind of possibility that is why we heightened our maritime patrols,” said Reyes.
As of posting time, Reyes reported that naval forces have not monitored any attempt by any terror suspect to enter via the sea. DEMPSEY REYES