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Watch foreigners, Davao del Sur mayor tells village officials

/ 06:20 AM August 04, 2017

DIGOS CITY—Mayor Joseph Peñas has ordered the monitoring of foreigners here as the city tightens security measures to stop extremists and criminals from using its coastal waters to enter mainland Mindanao.

“We are just reassuring the public that the city government is not taking for granted the possibility that foreigners with direct links to local and international terror groups could find their way into the city,” said Peñas, who tasked the city’s village officials to lead the monitoring.

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Digos City in Davao del Sur province is accessible by sea from Indonesia, where some Islamist militants fighting in Marawi City reportedly came from, through the border across the Celebes Sea via Sarangani Island.

“We need to monitor foreigners at all times so that peace in Digos will not be compromised,” Peñas said.

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But he told village officials to use extreme caution and to extend courtesy to foreigners as they monitored their activities and solicited information.

“Never force them to answer questions relating to their purpose in coming and staying,” he said.

“There are many reasons why they are here,” Peñas said.

“They could be mere tourists, or they could have married one of our locals, or they could have businesses in the city. There’s no reason for them to fear unless they are into illegal activities,” he added.

Peñas also urged owners and operators of speed boats, fishing boats and other types of sea vessels to register with the city government.

Peñas said he was also proposing the formation of a task force, similar to Task Force Davao, that could be deployed to secure the city’s borders.

Digos is an entry point to the cities of Kidapawan, Cotabato, Davao and General Santos.

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Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte earlier suggested the establishment of border control points in the shared boundaries of Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte and Bukidnon provinces. —ELDIE AGUIRRE

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TAGS: coastal waters, extremists and criminals, Mayor Joseph Peñas, Mindanao, monitoring of foreigners, security measures
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