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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Philippines: "Security in ports tightened after bomb found"

One would hope: Security in ports tightened after bomb found :
The Philippine Coast Guard on Sunday ordered stricter security measures in all sea ports following the discovery of a cache of homemade explosives in an inter-island ship in Lucena City, its spokesman said.

Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo, the Coast Guard chief, directed all commanders to implement rigorous security checks in all piers to thwart terrorist attacks or the transport of weapons and materials for terrorism, said Lieutenant Armand Balilo.

Balilo said that even before the discovery of the bombs, Tamayo put all seaports in the country on heightened alert to prepare for the State of the Nation Address of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Monday.

"We advised all our commanders to deploy additional sea marshals, boarding team, and response groups in their areas if needed," he said over the phone.

A K9 Unit of the Coast Guard was doing a routine check on M/V Blue Water Princes in Lucena City on Saturday afternoon when a bomb-sniffing dog found improvised bombs in a trash bin near the female comfort room on the second deck of vessel.

Balilo said the bombs, placed inside 12 empty glass bottles, were "obviously made to harm people." He said there were no indications that the bombs would just be used for blast fishing.

"Those who made the bombs put nails inside the glass bottles to make sure that it would harm those aboard the ship. If it exploded, it would surely damage the ship and cause it to sink," he said.

Balilo said the roll-on, roll-off vessel, with 80 passengers and 35 crew members aboard, was about to depart for Masbate when the bombs were discovered.

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