GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The Police Regional Office (PRO)-12 placed all its units in the city and the neighboring areas under heightened alert in connection with the scheduled visit of President Rodrigo R. Duterte here Thursday, which coincided with the prayer rally of a controversial religious group.
Brig Gen. Eliseo Tam Rasco, PRO-12 regional director, said Thursday the police are in "high gear" to prevent possible disruptions and untoward incidents during Duterte's visit.
The President was scheduled to arrive here on Thursday afternoon to personally hand over land titles to some 13,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries from Region 12 (Soccsksargen).
Rasco said members of the Kapa Community International Inc. started to converge on Wednesday at the Pedro Acharon Sports Complex in Barangay Calumpang for their prayer rally.
Organizers said thousands of Kapa members from different parts of Mindanao will join the rally, whose primary objective was to appeal the closure of the religious group as ordered by the President.
Duterte ordered a crackdown on Kapa and other firms engaged in soliciting investments last Friday, saying he wants to protect the public from potential fraudulent activities.
Kapa, a registered religious group that accepts "donations" from its members at a monthly interest of 30 percent, said it was not engaged in any fraudulent investment scheme. The group boasts of around five million members nationwide, mostly based in Mindanao.
Although Kapa leaders have assured that their activities will be conducted in a peaceful manner, Rasco said "there is a high probability that lawless groups might take advantage of this."
"The coincidence of both event projects risks to the safety of the President as well as the innocent civilians alike considering the volume of the people gathering in the city," Rasco said.