Sara Duterte sets guidelines for Davao City’s ‘hold-and-secure’ policy
DAVAO CITY – This city immediately enforced tighter security measures amid the attacks by armed groups in Marawi City to prevent diversionary or retaliatory attacks here, Mayor Sara Duterte said on Wednesday.
Mayor Duterte, who earlier announced a lockdown in the city and then a hold-and-secure strategy, said she and security officials had anticipated that terrorists would conduct diversionary or retaliatory attacks in the city, in the wake of the attacks by the Abu Sayyaf and Maute Group on Marawi City. The attacks had prompted her father, President Duterte, to declare martial law in Mindanao.
“We do not have specific info on any attack but it is not remote. If they want to divert attention, they would want to do it here because here is where the President lives. And also Davao City is the rallying point of Mindanao,” Duterte said.
“The possibility of a diversion or retaliation” is high, according to Mayor Duterte.
In September, at the height of the offensive against the Maute group in Lanao del Sur and the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu and Basilan, 15 people were killed when a bomb tore into the night market along Roxas Ave. here.
At least five suspected Maute group members had been arrested in the aftermath of the attack and all of them were under custody of authorities here.
“We have individuals under the control of authorities inside the city,” she said.
Mayor Duterte said she and her security officials have decided to downgrade security measures from a lockdown, which she announced early Wednesday, to a hold-and-secure situation.
Under a lockdown, travel from and to the city would be prohibited.
“We have changed the situation in Davao from a lockdown to a hold-and-secure situation but we have come up with a set of guidelines for Dabawenyos waiting for the President to come home,” she told reporters.
She said some activities under the hold-and-secure situation would be restricted or discouraged.
Duterte said for one, authorities have advised Dabawenyos “to call 911 immediately if you see suspicious-looking persons, vehicles, materials or actions and especially meetings by individuals or strangers”
She said “travel to and from Davao city is discouraged unless it is urgent” and individuals should not be bringing with them large amounts of money.
“Do not leave your residences if you do not have business matters to attend to outside. Traveling in motorcycle convoys is also discouraged,” Mayor Duterte said.
She added that people should avoid wandering in public places and stay away from crowded areas. However, the night market and entertainment businesses would remain open, she said.
Duterte said religious activities have been encouraged to be conducted during daytime but Muslims, who break fast in the evening or attend night prayers during the Ramadan, have been asked to limit their
activities inside their houses, mosques or compound of mosques.
“They should also adopt the buddy system when they travel from and to their homes,” she said.
Duterte said rallies or protest activities would not be prohibited but organizers should secure permits from the city government.
“We will implement maximum tolerance for rallies. All rallies should have permits. If they do not want to apply for permits, they can conduct their rally at the Freedom Park (in front of Ateneo de Davao on Roxas Ave.)
Duterte has also discouraged parents from allowing their minor children to go out at night. Minors attending an important activity or event must be accompanied by adults, Duterte said.
For those on night shift, Duterte said they should be accompanied by relatives from and to their work places.
She informed the public to expect more police checkpoints in the city. She advised city residents to always be ready with their official identification, drivers’ and gun licenses, as well as vehicle registration papers.
“Ensure that you have updated vehicle registration papers and drivers licenses. Ensure that you have valid and existing licenses for your guns, your personal guns. You cooperate with the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and the PNP (Philippine National Police) in the conduct of checkpoints,” she said.
“In the conduct of checkpoints, you turn off the headlights and turn on cabin lights (at night). Allow the inspectors to smoothly make their inspections. Don’t burden them (with protestations) if you have nothing to hide. If you are hiding something, don’t go out of your homes anymore,” she said.
She also advised individuals to “always bring valid IDs.”
Vehicles, she said, should not be left unattended for a very long time.
Businesses and schools have been discouraged to retain large sums of money and have been asked to invest in security plans.
“They are encouraged to create emergency plans ASAP. Invest in firefighting equipment and security,” she said.
Duterte said schools should also tightly screen guests and should not allow anybody in if their purposes were unclear.
Tourists, she said, have been discouraged from going into areas not identified as tourist destinations. They should also bring IDs with them all the time.
“These are our guidelines while we are waiting for the parameters that will be set by the Office of the President and the AFP with regards to Martial Law,” she said, adding that no arrests would be made unless a violation of existing laws occur. SFM
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