Pangasinan now also on alert vs terrorists

DAGUPAN CITY — The police in Pangasinan are ready to thwart any act of terrorism or lawlessness with the raising of Terror Alert Level No. 3 on Thursday by PNP Chief Director General Ronald “Bato” De la Rosa.

This was bared by Supt. Jackie Candelario, deputy police regional director for operations and also spokesman of the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office (PPPO) minutes after receiving the order of the PNP chief placing the police under Terror Alert No. 3.

De la Rosa made the announcement when he presented to newsmen two suspects just arrested in Caloocan City and Bulacan who were believed to have a hand in planting improvised explosive device (IED) near the United States Embassy in Manila.

“Ibig sabihin may mga threat na natatanggap. . . imminent threat na po yan (It means there was a threat that was received. That was already imminent threat,” Candelario told newsmen here, hinting this is reason Gen. dela Rosa placed the entire PNP under Terror Alert Level No. 3.

He said that was possibly in Metro Manila which is the center of the whole country, pointing out that no such activity was noted in Pangasinan yet.

Asked by newsmen what the local police will do here in Pangasinan to enforce the PNP chief’s order, Candelario said since the state of national emergency declared by President Rodrigo Duterte sometime in August as an aftermath of the Davao bombing is still in effect and has not been lifted, they will just intensify it.

“We will adopt stricter security measures to address the situation especially in areas where bombings by alleged terrorists group may likely occur,” he said.

He did not identify this group but may be referring to the Maute group being linked to the planting of IED near the U.S. embassy and is now being pursued by the military in Mindanao which reportedly has link with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“Here in our province, we have not received any threat. But we can never be confident and will be preparing very well to thwart any one from disturbing the peace, he said.

At the same time, Candelario admitted that for the Christmas holidays and fiestas in Pangasinan, they will not request any augmentation force from the Philippine Army anymore and will just rely on help to be extended by their force multipliers from the ranks of concerned citizens, including those from the barangays.

He said they can always call the Provincial Public Safety Company based in Tayug led by Supt. Virgilio Pascua if there is a necessity for it and if concerned towns and cities would request for it.

In placing the police under Terror Alert No. 3, PNP Chief De la Rosa ordered the police in the entire country to bring back checkpoints which were withdrawn last month on order of President Duterte.

At the same time, Candelario said the police in Pangasinan will intensify their intelligence networks in a move to detect persons who know how to make improvised explosive devices, noting that some chemical-based fertilizers as well as blasting caps from the mines are usually being used as raw materials in bomb-making. Leonardo Micua/