Bicol reg'l peace body forms task group vs. terror attacks

By Mar Serrano

LEGAZPI CITY -- The Bicol Integrated Port and Maritime Security (BIPMS) task group was formally organized here on Monday through the initiative of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC).

Legazpi Mayor Noel Rosal, RPOC chairperson, said a memorandum of agreement (MOA) was signed at Camp Gen. Simeon Ola in this capital city for such purpose.

The BIPMS was organized after the recent bombing incidents perpetrated by suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Masbate port.

Rosal, in an interview, said forming the task group is a security measure to prevent terrorist attacks on vital government installations particularly seaports, ferry terminals, airports and other transport terminals in the region.

He said the task group would intensify security in terminals where people and modes of transportation are vulnerable to attacks and other forms of atrocity.

Major ports in Bicol are considered as inter-island gateway to and from the Visayas and Mindanao regions. These are the ports in Masbate, Matnog and Bulan, all in Sorsogon, and in Legazpi, Tabaco and Pio Duran in Albay.

The MOA was signed by regional directors of various line agencies including the Departments of Transportation and Interior and Local Government; Philippine Ports Authority; Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency; Philippine National Police; Philippine Coast Guard; Armed Forces of the Philippines; Bureau of Customs and the National Intelligence Coordination Agency.

Rosal said protecting the public from the danger of possible terrorist attacks in major ports requires integrated human and logistical resources from these agencies.

The BIPMS aims to bring a high level of security for the passengers, port facilities, vessels and properties within the port premises, he added.

The PPA will lead the inter-agency committee on security where member-agencies would monitor activities and report situations that would require preparation and activation. (PNA)