NCRPO chief: No security threat in Metro Manila

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NCRPO Chief Guillermo Eleazar. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 3) — The head of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) allayed fears Sunday about a possible attack targeting Metro Manila following explosions in Mindanao last week.

While Metro Manila is on full alert status, NCRPO chief Director Guillermo Eleazar said it is only being implemented as a precautionary measure.

Speaking at an event promoting peace among different religions in Quezon City, he said there was no security threat in Metro Manila.

He, however, urged the public to cooperate with authorities in implementing stricter security measures that were put in place since last week, such as the ban on bottled liquids inside MRT and LRT stations.

"Ito'y magbibigay ng oportunidad for us to maximize the mobilization of our resources... Ang panawagan natin sa ating mga kababayan, makipagtulungan na lang. Hindi naman ibig sabihin na inosente eh magdadala ng ganoon. Para sa lahat ito," he said.

[Translation: This will provide opportunity for us to maximize the mobilization of our resources. We're calling on our fellow Filipinos to cooperate. It doesn't mean that an innocent would bring those things. This is for everyone.]

As the May 13 election draws near, Eleazar said they will continue working closely with various religious and civic groups to keep Metro Manila safe.

Solidarity walk

Hundreds of Muslims and Christians gathered Sunday at the Quezon City Memorial Circle to show unity goes beyond religion.

Participants from other religious denominations — as well as policemen — also joined the solidarity walk and recited a pledge for peace.

During the program, an imam swapped a Koran with a Bible from a priest to symbolize they embrace people who have a different faith.

Following the bombings in Jolo and Zamboanga last week, Muslim leader Datu Bashir Alonto said there's a greater need to show Christians and Muslims can work together.

He insisted religion had nothing to do with the tragedies which happened a few days after the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

At least 22 people died in the twin blasts which rocked a cathedral in Jolo on January 27, while the explosion in Zamboanga on January 30 left two people dead.

"Mariin nating sinasabi na ito ay hindi maka-Islam at walang Islam na gumagawa ng kaguluhan. Ang tinatawag na Muslim ay kapayapaan ang ginagawa... Hindi makakahadlang kung anumang kaguluhan ang ginagawa para pag-awayin at bigyan ng hadlang itong pagmamahalan ng Christian at Muslim," Alonto said.

[Translation: We reiterate that this isn't for Islam and no follower creates chaos. Muslims create peace... No challenge to peace could make Christians and Muslims fight each other.]

Father Onie Rosaroso, vicar general of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said the recent blasts should not be a reason for people to hate those who practice a different religion.

"We can only achieve peace if we have this love. Precisely yung ginawa natin dito [This is precisely what we are doing here]," he said.

Eleazar said the Muslim community in Metro Manila works with the PNP in maintaining peace and order.

"Sila ang nagbibigay sa atin ng mga impormasyon na pwedeng makatulong sa atin, kung meron mang sabihin natin na magte-take advantage ng kanilang vulnerability," he said.

[Translation: They are the ones who give us information that can help us, if there are - shall we say - those who will take advantage of their vulnerability.]