ABOUT 400 porters and drivers in seaport terminals in Bacolod City will be tapped to strengthen the Provincial Government’s anti-terrorism efforts.
Frank Carbon, regional governor of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Western Visayas and Negros Island Region, said Sunday that the focus of the business sector right now is to help boost the Capitol’s anti-terrorism campaign, which is why they are collaborating with the local authorities and public officials.
"We have to use our existing assets in piers as deterrent or detection to possible terror attacks," he said.
Carbon said that porters and drivers will most likely have “direct” contact with persons of interest when they arrive in the city.
He said the entrance in ports is “very porous,” so it’s important to train these workers with “special skills” like detection for immediate reporting.
“They will be an extension of the intelligence community to detect this kind of people so they can report it to authorities for immediate surveillance,” Carbon explained.
These porters and drivers will be trained on detection, surveillance, and intelligence work, he added.
He said they recently met with the porters who expressed willingness to help the authorities in protecting the community.
“They are already mentally-ready because this is not a joke,” he said.
Carbon said they are just waiting for the schedule from the police on when the training will start.
He added that porters will be trained first, then drivers of taxis, tricycles, and pedicabs.
They are targeting that these seaport workers “will be ready” by mid-August, he said.
Carbon said the participation of the community is important in thwarting terror plots.
To further boost the anti-terrorism campaign of the Capitol, the Provincial Government recently created a task force to ensure proper coordination of the different agencies to protect the province from the threat of terrorism, crime and other lawless elements as well as provide humanitarian assistance in times of disasters.
Task Force Buglas, chaired by Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., had already drafted an action plan to be implemented during and after possible terrorism scenarios like bombing, kidnapping, hijacking, and seajacking.
It is also looking to strengthen its communication lines with the community.
Last week, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council approved the P25 million-budget to fund the programs of Task Force Buglas until the end of the year.