700 cops, soldiers tapped to secure Abra sports meet following blast

LA TRINIDAD, BENGUET—About 700 police officers and soldiers have been deployed to secure 7,000 school athletes and coaches who will participate in a Cordillera sports event in Abra province from Feb. 4 to 9.

Many parents have expressed concern about this year’s Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association meet, following the grenade blast at La Paz town in Abra on Jan. 25.

Two policemen were killed and 26 people, including Abra Rep. Joseph Bernos and his wife, La Paz Mayor Menchie Bernos, were wounded in the explosion that had remained unsolved.

On Monday, Abra Gov. Joy Bernos assured participants and their parents that they would be safe during the meet, the largest sporting event in the region.

She met officials at the Cordillera office of the Department of Education (DepEd) here to discuss the final arrangements for the event.

Delegates from Baguio City and six Cordillera provinces will be billeted in Bangued, the capital town of Abra, as well as in nearby towns, including La Paz.

The meet will officially open on Feb. 4 with an afternoon program that will be attended by Director General Ronald dela Rosa, chief of the Philippine National Police. A highlight of the program will be a fireworks display.

Based on a report presented during the DepEd meeting, covert security teams will also be deployed “for monitoring of threat groups, left-leaning organizations and for information gathering.”

A security task force believed armed groups based in Abra and nearby provinces could cause a disturbance and bring “embarrassment to the host province,” officials were told. —KARLSTON LAPNITEN

700 cops, soldiers tapped to secure Abra sports meet following blast

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