Commodore Alejandro Flora, Coast Guard District Commander for Central and Eastern Visayas urged shipping operators to acquire their own K-9 units to strengthen security measures for their own vessels following the shootout between two suspected terrorists and policemen last week.The Global War on Terror continues, but some of the weaker links get revealed along the way. As noted at the time of the Dubai port operations flap, our domestic ports are only a small part of the puzzle.
Flora bared they only have two K-9 dogs that are good for one hour each everyday as utilizing the dog for over an hour would affect the sharpness of its ability to smell explosives.
Last Thursday, two suspected members of a terrorist group Rajah Sulaiman Movement (RSM) died in a shootout with policemen after they allegedly left a box containing a bomb at the entrance of SM City Cebu in the North Reclamation Area.
Police are now on heightened alert following the incident, as the RSM has been responsible for several bombing incidents in the past. Law enforcement agencies are now also tracking other RSM members believed to still be in Cebu.
The Cebu Port on the other hand, lacks security facilities and is vulnerable to terrorist attack, port officials admitted. It does not have the sophisticated equipment to detect bombs and other explosive devices that might be sneaked into ports, according to port facilitation security officer Oscar Lopez of the Transportation Security.
Lopez said he cannot guarantee 100 percent safety assurance even with the installed walk-through detectors and x-ray machines at the passengers terminal for domestic vessels as these security measures do not cover the cargo inside the container vans. Thorough screening of the baggage brought by passengers may be done but the security and screening procedures for cargo containers are not in place, this was learned.
Cargoes inside the container vans are not being subjected to security check because the Cebu Port does not have the necessary equipment like a machine capable to x-ray container vans and a vapor analyzer to check the contents of the vans, it was said.
The k-9 dogs also can no longer detect explosives inside the container vans so the equipment is badly needed, Lopez said.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Hmmm. Might want to take a little extra care opening containers that pass through Cebu City, Philippines
Why? Info here: