NCRCOM sees no spillover of violence from Jolo blast
- Alexis Romero () - December 27, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Armed Forces National Capital Region Command (NCRCOM) is confident that there would be no spillover of violence in Metro Manila after the Christmas Day explosion in Jolo, Sulu that wounded nine people.

Newly installed NCRCOM chief Brig. Gen. Tristan Kison said his troops are on alert against unscrupulous elements who may want to take advantage of the holiday season.

“We are confident that we can contain the situation in Jolo. We are vigilant here in Metro Manila against any violent incident so the festive mood would not be disrupted,” Kison told radio station dzBB yesterday.

“We all know that Christmas and New Year are important to Filipinos so we have to prevent all types of disorder. We are doing this in coordination with the Philippine National Police,” he added.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines vowed to tighten security in the area. “Imagine bombing a church on Christmas...It was very unfortunate,” AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta, Jr. said.

Nine people, including a nine-year-old girl and a priest, were wounded when a bomb exploded inside the Sacred Heart chapel in Jolo last Saturday. Authorities said the improvised explosive device was planted near the altar and went off in the middle of the Mass celebrating Christmas Day.

The military said the Abu Sayyaf, a local terrorist group believed to have links with the al-Qaeda international terror network, may be behind the incident. Other possible suspects included fundamentalist Muslims and individuals with a personal grudge against the police.

Mabanta said they have sufficient troops to run after those responsible for the bombing.

“There is one whole brigade of the Marines, the 3rd Marine Brigade, in that area so with the Philippine National Police, we have enough forces in that area,” he said. “We all know that Sulu is a critical area and that’s why these are one of the most saturated areas of AFP.”

Kison said his troops have been placed on red alert from Dec. 23 until Jan. 18 to secure the metropolis during the holidays.

“We declared a red alert and that means our troops will be around so people would have a feeling of security,” Kison said.

Kison said they are working to prevent a repeat of previous violent incidents like the December 30, 2000 bombing, which killed 22 people.

ABU SAYYAF ARMED FORCES NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION COMMAND ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR CHRISTMAS DAY JOLO JOSE MABANTA KISON MARINE BRIGADE METRO MANILA PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE
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