‘Oplan Border,’ other measures vs. bombing “operational” – Buk police director

Male passengers disembark from an RTMI bus in Brgy. Sinuda, Kitaotao, Bukidnon on January 10 for inspection BukidnonNews.Net photo by Walter I. Balane

Male passengers disembark from an RTMI bus in Brgy. Sinuda, Kitaotao, Bukidnon on January 10 for inspection
BukidnonNews.Net photo by Walter I. Balane

MALAYBALAY CITY (BukidnonNews.Net/15 January) The regional office of the Philippine National Police has started Oplan Bantay Border or the operation of 24/7 checkpoints in three entry points to the province, the Bukidnon police director said.

Police Senior Supt. Glenn dela Torre, Bukidnon police director told the Bukidnon Sangguniang Panlalawigan Monday concerned government agencies and law enforcers have implemented it among measures to preempt bombing and other criminalities.

“The purpose of the Oplan Bantay Border is to address (the threat of) bombing incidents, to control movement of Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP/NPA) and other threat groups or lawless elements; and to provide investors an ideal safe place to invest,” he said.

Dela Torre, who was called to an SP committee hearing morning of January 12, said the police and the military have implemented the initiatives following recommendations from local government officials, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Rural Transit Mindanao, Inc. (RTMI) and other transport groups in Region 10.

The recommendations came after the bombing incidents on November 6 that hurt four people and on December 9 that killed 10 and injured 44 other passengers of an RTMI bus in front the main gate of Central Mindanao University.

Dela Torre said the police’s Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) will operate each of the checkpoint on a 24-hour a day, seven days a week schedule. The three boundaries with round the clock checkpoints are in Barangay Sinuda in Kitaotao town in the province’s boundary with Davao City; in Barangay Macapari, Damulog town in the province’s boundary with North Cotabato; and in West Poblacion, Kalilangan town in Bukidnon’s boundary with Lanao del Sur. Each checkpoint will use two K9 dogs.

He said additional checkpoints were installed in Barangay Lorega, Kitaotao town, Barangay Halapitan in San Fernando town in the boundary with Davao del Norte, Barangay San Isidro in Talakag and in Barangay Alae in Manolo Fortich town in the boundary with Cagayan de Oro.

Strategic area checkpoints, he said, were also done in Crossing Maramag-Pangantucan, Crossing Dologon, Maramag, Crossing Aglayan, Malaybalay City, Crossing Kisolon, Sumilao, Crossing Dominorog, Talakag and Crossing Barandias in Pangantucan town.

Bus passengers will be inspected and luggage at the overhead compartment must be checked by K9 Unit and Explosives and Ordnance Division (EOD) personnel, he added.

Police will also provide uniformed bus marshals from the local police station from a town or city to the next.

He added that local police stations will also conduct simultaneous checkpoint operations in strategic locations and establish and maintain police assistance centers in public bus terminals.

He said the 24/7 deployment of Provincial Public Safety Battalion (PPSB) personnel at the bus terminals of Maramag and the cities of Malaybalay and Valencia will be continued as well as the posting of two police personnel in CMU to monitor and assist security personnel of the school.

Dela Torre cited that Bukidnon Governor Jose Ma. R. Zubiri, Jr. has created a task force to handle investigations of the two separate incidents.

He noted other recommendations to include installation of CCTV at the public terminals, fencing of terminals to control flow of passengers, and massive information drive on IED (improvised explosive devices) through hanging of tarpaulin and distribution of leaflets.

He added that also recommended were the construction of bus loading and unloading bays in every town or city, establishment of assistance desk in every public/bus terminals, requirement for passengers to submit their luggage for inspection/dog sniffing, among others.

Police Senior Superintendent Sergio Dimandal, deputy regional director for administration, said the installation of CCTV in public places and buses is a big help.

But he said the construction of bus loading and unloading bays in every town or city to be run by police needs “further study” considering their limited personnel. He added that “definitely they can’t cover it all.”

Representatives from LTFRB and RTMI also attended the hearing to present their initiatives such as posting of additional security guards in every bus terminal, strict implementation of company policy on the checking of luggage, implementation of one- door policy, loading and unloading only in designated bus stops, and among other training for drivers and conductors on anti-criminality measures (Mel B. Madera/BukidnonNews.Net correspondent)