IEC in Cebu faces tight security after Jakarta attacks

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Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Villarojo (Sammy Navaja / CBCPNews)

MANILA, Jan. 16, 2015— Authorities are stepping up security in Cebu City for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) following the terrorist attack in Indonesia that left two civilians dead.

Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Villarojo, secretary general of the IEC local organizing committee, said there no known specific threats, but authorities ordered tighter security at all venues.

“While we commiserate with the victims of the bombing, the incident provides even more impetus for us and our security agencies to be vigilant and prepare to make IEC as secure as possible,” explained Villarojo.

Jakarta explosions

Indonesian police nabbed three men in relation to the Jakarta explosions on Thursday near a shopping mall, government offices, police station, luxury hotels and the French Embassy.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, raising alarm about terrorism in the world’s largest Muslim country.

Villarojo said the security template for the IEC is robust and similar with what has been done before for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit held in Manila last November.

“Besides, Cebu is unlike Jakarta. We never had any such incidents in the past due perhaps to the relative ease for the topography of Cebu to be secured,” he said.

International delegates

Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu earlier said all is set for the week-long global religious gathering which will start on Jan. 24.

“With the prayers, involvement, generosity, and volunteerism of many people, I can say that at this time, we are prepared,” said Palma.

There are around 12,000 to 15,000 delegates from different parts of the world expected to attend the IEC.

Pope Francis is also sending Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, the 66-year old Archbishop of Yangon in Myanmar, as his representative throughout the Congress.

It has been 79 years since the IEC was last held in Manila. (Roy Lagarde / CBCPNews) 

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