The report said that a certain Harit, an alleged member of the Abu Sayyaf, was tracked down by the intelligence community to have arrived in Naga City on Tuesday morning. His exact whereabouts are presently unknown, the intel report said.
What exacerbated the situation was the proliferation of Facebook posts that warned the public against going to crowded places on account of the intel report.
Meanwhile, Senior Inspector Malu Calubaquib confirmed to Bicol Standard that a conference of police officers was held at Camp Simeon Ola in Legazpi City on Tuesday primarily to tackle the issue regarding the leaked intelligence report and other preparations for the forthcoming Peñafrancia fiesta celebration.
In a press release on Wednesday morning, the Police Regional Office 5 (PRO5) said this possible threat was among its peace and order concerns.
It reads: “The terrorists and other threat groups may take advantage of the festivities to undertake sabotage, raids and other terroristic activities against PRO5 and AFP units/installations to embarrass the government.”
They noted that cause-oriented groups may stage various rallies to “embarrass the government in the eyes of the foreign devotees/tourists.”
“To address such, PRO5 created Peace and Order Task Force for the Peñafrancia Festival 2016, which will serve as the front-liner in the conduct of security operations within Naga City and its adjacent municipalities in Camarines Sur. This is to pre-empt inimical plans of the terrorists and other threat groups, likewise, to ensure the success, peaceful and orderly celebrations of Peñafrancia Festival 2016,” the statement added.
To augment the Naga City police force, Walfredo G. Pornillos, Provincial Director of Camarines Sur Provincial Police Office will provide 500 PNP personnel organized into teams to assure the devotees of their safety in the fiesta celebrations.
On the other hand, Police Chief Superintendent Melvin Ramon G. Buenafe has asked for the public’s support and involvement by reporting any relevant and timely information to the nearest police station or through social media Facebook Account (Kasurog Bicol) and Twitter Account @PRO5 React or by calling or texting the hotline, (0917) 309-7862.
In a related report, PRO5 on Wednesday morning warned the public from believing and disseminating unverified information on alleged security threats. It added that posting and sharing such unverified information is punishable by law.
This coming Friday, a huge crowd of devotees will flock to Naga City for the Traslacion procession, which signals the start of the Peñafrancia festivities.