CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, April 2 (PNA) – The military has placed the entire Eastern Visayas region under heightened alert during the long vacation following the observation of the Holy Week.

All the army line units in the areas are given the discretion to elevate the alert status of their units depending on the developing and emerging situation in the respective areas of responsibility.

Army Unit Commanders were reminded to maintain security in vital installations, economic key points as well as places of convergence and ensure high state of operational readiness to deter criminal activities and thwart any hostile actions that may be launched by threat groups.

Capt. Andrew Linao, assistant public affairs chief of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division based in this city, said the unit deployed soldiers who will join the police teams in supervising checkpoints, while other soldiers will also be assigned to secure crowd-heavy places like terminals and churches.

The military and police in the region has also increased its presence in place of convergence and established assistant desks in key establishments as expected to cause influx of people in the churches, transport terminals and other public places.

“We will be securing hot spots especially tourist spots like beaches and other places that we need to secure and will continue to intensify the campaign against loose firearms, illegal discharge of firearms, and campaign against criminal gangs,” Linao said.

Meanwhile, the military has collaborated with various private agencies for the deployment of marshals at bus terminals and bus stops for the security of the traveling public.

“We have actually joined forces with the members of the PNP, security guards of establishments in the city and towns, for peaceful and orderly celebration of the Holy Week,” he added.

To recall, military units in insurgency-affected areas were also alerted against possible rebel-initiated hostilities in connection with the 46th founding anniversary of the New People’s Army last Palm Sunday, March 29.

Based on historically data, the military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines is known to launch armed hostilities and offensive actions to highlight celebrations of significant events in the underground movement. (PNA)