The Western Command (Wescom) said Thursday that Palawan remains safe against any terrorism threat despite Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s disclosure that it is considered a “problem area.”
Wescom spokesperson Captain Cherryl Tindog said there is no reason for Palaweños and tourists to panic because the military and the inter-agency task force are on top of the situation.
“We would like to inform the public that there is no reason for us to panic because of the statement of Sec. Roque that there are many terrorists in Palawan,” said Tindog.
She said Sec. Roque was likely referring to the communist-terrorist group New People’s Army (NPA) that had staged atrocities recently, including the murder of two police assets on March 2 in Sofronio Española, southern Palawan.
“He’s probably talking about the NPA that had just been tagged as terrorists. In the province, we had situations where they were involved, and recently they staged atrocities. However, the Wescom is working 24/7 with our partners and police counterparts to ensure that we will deter any terrorist attack in Palawan,” said Tindog.
In a forum with students at the Palawan State University (PSU) on Wednesday, Roque briefly mentioned that the province is one of the problem areas where violent extremism is concerned in the country.
“The not so good news is that there are many terrorists who are now here in Palawan. Palawan is one of the problematic (sic) areas when it comes to terrorism. Believe it or not, I can see intelligence reports that are being given to President (Rodrigo) Duterte, and we know their moves that is why we are able to secure our communities,” said Roque.
She stated that the Wescom joint inter-agency task units have been doing stringent air, land, and sea patrols, and strategic checkpoints, to ensure that the province remains safe.
“We’ve gone through a lot of advisories regarding the presence of terrorists here, but as far as Wescom is concerned, other than the communist-terrorist NPA, we have not monitored any other terrorist groups,” added Tindog.
She reiterated that those who want to visit Palawan can do so because Wescom will make sure they are safe.