Airport security tightens amid MidEast tension
The Philippine National Police (PNP) intensified security in airports amid the escalating tension in the Middle East.
"Prior to my assumption, (PNP officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa) has a directive strengthening security in airports. This is a frontline measure for the (members of the) international community, for all passengers from different countries. This is for them to feel confident and secure in coming to the Philippines," newly-appointed PNP Aviation Security Group (AVSEGROUP) chief Brig. Gen. Crizaldo Nieves told reporters Monday.
Nieves said 200 police officers are currently undergoing training while they plan to recruit an additional 500 personnel.
Nieves replaced Brig. Gen. Arnel Escobal who was named as the new head of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations- Eastern Mindanao.
Escobal is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1987 while Nieves, a member of PNP Academy (PNPA) Class 1989, used to be the number three man of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).
Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, chief of the PNP Directorial Staff, said the Aviation Security Group is among the country’s first line of defense against anything that threatens public safety and security, thus the need for it to be alert at this point.
Eleazar said all airports must be secured in order to prevent any chance of making the country among the site of a possible proxy war between the United States and Iran.
While they have not yet received any credible threats, Eleazar said it would be better for the PNP to be on guard and take preemptive actions to prevent attacks from occurring.
“Our AVSEGROUP should start coordinating with appropriate government agencies in order to further fortify our defense mechanism from all these threats to safety and security of our people,” Eleazar said.
The PNP leadership earlier said that it is currently profiling all the groups that may carry out attacks in the country as a way of expression of support for Iran against the United States.
Tensions continue to brew in the Middle East after top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad, Iraq last week.
His death marked an escalation of tensions between the US and Iran since US President Donald Trump chose to unilaterally withdraw Washington from a 2015 nuclear pact world powers struck with Tehran.
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