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SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Wilma T. Eisma has called for “cooperation in the enforcement of stricter security measures” after placing this Freeport on “highest alert” on Friday, even as President Rodrigo R. Duterte is set to visit today (Sunday).

“The declaration of red alert is a simple precautionary measure to ensure the safety and security of our investors, residents, employees, and our kababayans,” Eisma said in a texted message to Subic Bay News.

This came after the arrest here on Tuesday (May 30) of three (3) suspects in the bombing on May 6, 2017 of the Golden Mosque in Quiapo, Manila that claimed two (2) lives and injured several others.

The SBMA LED has identified those arrested as Pakistani national Aamir Shahad Khan, 38, owner of a trading company operating here in the Subic Freeport, his employees Halid C. Macatuno, 39, and Jo Anne M. Palmiano.

According to Eisma, the arrest was “the result of close coordination and operation with my office, SBMA LED (Law Enforcement Dept.), led by CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group), (which has been) going on for weeks.”

However, Eisma said she has been advised as of Thursday night that Khan, Macatuno and Palmiano have already been “released due to lack of evidence.”

Earlier, Police Director Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) National Capital Region (NCR), has said in a media briefing that there is no indication that the Quiapo blasts were “terrorists-related” nor connected to another explosion in Quiapo in April, also this year.

Nevertheless, Eisma raised the security status of the Subic Bay Freeport to “highest alert,” deploying the SBMA’s Special Weapons & Tactics (SWAT) personnel to man the gates, “augmented by PNP SAF (Special Action Forces)”

“Taking into consideration what has been happening in certain parts of the country in recent days, we have to make certain that Subic remains safe as there is a large concentration of people here, including a lot of foreigners,” Eisma explained.

“We cannot err on the side of caution,” she added.

Meanwhile, President Duterte will be arriving here this afternoon to tour the Japanese helicopter carrier JS Izumo (DDH-183) which will also arrive today with the guided missile destroyer JS Sazanami for a goodwill visit. ###

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