Police on heightened alert for terror attacks
MANILA, Philippines—Policemen itching to watch Sunday’s live telecast of the megabucks fight between Manny Pacquiao and his American challenger Sugar Shane Mosley may have to settle for a replay of the boxing match or just listen to the live blow-by-blow account on radio.
The Philippine National Police reminded all its 135,000 personnel to stay alert for possible attacks by local terrorists following al-Qaida’s warning that they would exact revenge on the United States and its allies for the killing of terror chief Osama bin Laden.
PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz Jr. said all PNP units had been placed on heightened alert to avert criminal activities while millions of Filipinos are glued to the Pacquaio-Mosley fight.
Cruz said although policemen may watch the boxing match, their primary concern should be the security of the people who are expected to troop to the venues offering live telecasts of the fight.
“Their (policemen) eyes should be focused not on the boxing fight, but on monitoring criminals, terrorists and other threat groups,” Cruz said over the phone. “Anyway, they can just use their ears to listen (to the radio coverage) or watch the replay in the evening.”
Contrary to media reports, Cruz stressed that the police were not lowering their guard.
He said securing the nation from terror attacks should take precedence over the policemen’s desire to watch Pacquiao’s fight.
“We are not relaxing. In fact, we will be on a multitasking mode as policemen, Pacquiao fans and loving children to our mothers today,” he said, noting that the boxing match coincides with the Filipino families’ celebration of Mother’s Day.
He said PNP chief Director General Raul Bacalzo had ordered all regional police directors to make available all PNP mobile forces in their jurisdiction for any eventuality.
According to Cruz, Bacalzo has given police field commanders the discretion to raise the security alert level in their respective localities.
“The PNP chief wants all policemen to be on their toes in guarding vital installations and places of convergence as we join our countrymen in cheering for our boxing champ Manny Pacquiao,” he said.