Google map of Lanao del Sur
ILIGAN CITY – The Provincial Police Office in Lanao del Sur (PPO-LDS) on Sunday assured the public that there is no cause for panic or alarm as there is no new threat of terrorism in the province.
This, after a memorandum circulated on social media ordering all officers-in-charge of municipal police stations and the chief of police of Marawi to be on full alert status after receiving information “from a reliable source that more or less 200 armed men believed to be members of Dawlah Islamiya-Abu Sayyaf Group (DI-ASG) Maute group were sighted consolidating in the areas of Madalum, Marantao and Piagapo towns in Lanao del Sur.
The memorandum was dated Nov. 6 and signed by Lt. Col. Juanito Jamis, the operations officer of PPO-LDS.
“Said group were a composite of Tausog and Maranao-speaking members and planning to conduct atrocities in the areas of Lanao del Sur and its adjacent places,” the memorandum said.
The memorandum, posted in social media without permission from the chief of LDS-PPO, caused worries to residents of Marawi City and Lanao del Sur.
Col. Rex Derilo, chief of LDS police, said validation on the veracity of the information with other security forces and intelligence community is underway.
“At this stage of the validation, wala naman kami nakuhang (we did not have) indicators of such mass up of lawless elements, only raw information,” Derilo said in a statement released to media on Saturday evening.
He said the memorandum intends to direct the ground units to intensify the intelligence efforts and implement target hardening measures, to make them vigilant and ensure the safety and security of the public.
He said the Philippine National Police does not want a repeat of what happened in Marawi in 2017 where presence of armed men gathering in an apartment in Barangay Basak Malutlut was ignored.
The group was later known to be led by the late Isnilon Hapilon, the ASG commander who planned the Marawi siege.
“We have to act on the information though it is yet to be verified before it is too late. On behalf of the PNP in this province, I express my apology that the unauthorized released of that document which is supposed to be internal had caused tremendous alarm to the general public,” Derilo said.
The unauthorized release of the memorandum is now being investigated, according to him. (PNA)