Platoons of soldiers will deployed to different churches in Mindanao to thwart possible terrorist attacks during the Holy Week, a military official said Thursday.

In Basilan, one platoon will be deployed to the Isabela cathedral, another to the church in Maluso, and another to the Lamitan church, said Brig. Gen. Roberto Almadin, military chairman of the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Council.

Military personnel will also be deployed to churches in Sulu, Cotabato City, Zamboanga City, and the Davao region, Almadin said during a National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council meeting for preparations for the Holy Week.

“Gatherings of people in churches, cathedrals, places of religious interest, and tourist spots may be taken advantage of by terrorists to conduct attacks to sow chaos, disorder, and gain media mileage,” he said.

Other possible targets include airports, seaports, public transportation terminals, and vital installations, according to the official.

In Metro Manila, the military’s National Capital Region Command deployed 117 soldiers to help police secure terminals and other places of interest, Almadin said.

Soldiers will also act as sea marshalls, along with Coast Guard personnel, to ensure the security of commercial vessels going in and out of Metro Manila, he said. (John Roson)

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