Army in Bicol on red alert for Pope’s visit

Photo via 9th Infantry (Spear) Division, Philippine Army

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur – The 9th Infantry (Spear) Division is on red alert status in preparation for the Papal visit in Eastern Visayas and Metro Manila. 

Pursuant to which, Maj. Gen. Yerson E Depayso, Commander of the 9th Infantry Division, directed all Commanders to intensify security operations for any untoward incidents.

“Our troops are ready to support other agencies, as necessary, as to make sure that the event will be peaceful and orderly” he said.

The alert has been raised since  January 10, following the AFP’s declaration. 

Meanwhile, Colonel Cesar Idio, Commander of 903rd Bde, also committed his troops to ensure the safety and security of motorists and devotees especially at sea ports and bus terminals to preempt any threats or hostile passengers that may sow violence. 

The security measures were forged in close coordination with the Joint Security and Peace and Order of Sorsogon and Masbate Police Provincial Offices. The same over security patrols, joint checkpoints and joint Motorist Assistance Centers (MACs).

The troops also linked up with coast guards, and the provincial and municipal disaster risk reduction management councils to guard against any eventualities.

Also, a team from the 2nd Infantry Battalion in Albay was sent to the Office of the Civil Defense-5 last January 9 to augment the troops that will provide security during the Papal Visit in Tacloban. They will form part of the Incident Management Team in Tacloban City. An additional of two company size troop will also be deployed as augmentation to the security forces there.

Moreover, the 9th Infantry Battalion, led by Lt Col Lenart Lelina, is in Camp Aguinaldo today. The battalion is ready to be deployed as buffer crowd control and to take part in the AFP’s security preparations in Metro Manila. 

The battalion, which undertakes security operations in the Masbate province, has just undergone Peacekeeping Operations training for UN deployment. Rear forces of 9IB are still continuing internal peace and security operations in Masbate.-- DPAO, 9ID, PA