PH sea and air ports on high alert following MSU bombing

Marawi port. Photo from Philippine Ports Authority.
  • Philippine sea and air ports are on high alert following the bombing at Mindanao State University in Marawi City
  • Security measures have been intensified, with more personnel deployed and K-9 units doubled at sea ports
  • Security has also been tightened at the airports, with the Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group deploying Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams and K9 units at NAIA

Philippine sea and air ports are on high alert following the Mindanao State University (MSU) bombing in Marawi City on December 3 that left four dead and scores injured.

Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) general manager Jay Daniel Santiago on December 4 announced the red alert status for ports and facilities under the agency’s jurisdiction. The security measures include increased personnel presence and the deployment of double the usual number of K-9 units, in collaboration with the Philippine Coast Guard.

“We have never brought down the security alert status in our ports. Always heightened alert. We are never in relaxed mode,” Santiago noted.

The bombing occurred during a Catholic mass at the Dimaporo Gymnasium in MSU-Marawi. The Armed Forces of the Philippines is validating terror group ISIS’s ((Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) claim of responsibility for the attack.

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Security has also been heightened at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said “Enhanced security will be implemented not only in airports, but also in other modes of transport in the aftermath of the Marawi explosion.”

The Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group has deployed Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams and K9 units at the NAIA while the Special Operations Unit patrolled departure areas.

Heightened security protocols have also been put in place by the Office for Transportation Security.

Meanwhile, PPA also encouraged passengers passing through ports to take precautions following the rising cases of respiratory illness in China, and pneumonia cases in Denmark and the Netherlands.

Despite no official orders from the health department, Santiago advises passengers to wear masks, frequently wash their hands, and observe social distancing.