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Love and unity stressed on Valentine’s Day

Christian and Muslim leaders called on the nation yesterday to make use of love that the yearly celebration of Valentine’s Day generates in the hearts and minds of the people to strengthen national unity and help push the nation forward to prosperity, peace, happiness and understanding.

They said the love that blossoms on Valentine’s should be directed to forge national unity, make bickering politicians argue on matters of principles, and help leaders realize the need to resolve disputes through dialogues instead of confrontation especially during these difficult times.

"Not only Christians and Muslims will benefit but also the entire nation if love which is the centerpiece of every Valentine’s Day celebration will be used to help unite the various sectors of society, promote cooperation and harmony and enhance the political stability of the nation," they said.

Among the leaders who expressed such sentiments were Rep. Annie Rosa L. Susano of the second district of Quezon City, Rep. Francisco T. Matugas of the first district of Surigao del Norte, opposition Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City, Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto Teng Mangudadadatu and his father Rep. Pax S. Mangudadatu of the first district.

They were joined by Rep. Magtanggol T. Gunigundo of the 2nd district of Valenzuela City, Rep. Arnulfo F. Go of the second district of Sultan Kudarat, Mayor Marlo Ferdinand T. Sales of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, and Office on Muslim Affairs Executive Director Ali B. Sangki.

They said love between lovers and the cooperation and understanding between the governor and the governed are what the country and the world need to survive the deepening global financial crisis.

Susano, who represents the country’s biggest legislative district, said she makes her contituents feel her love and affection by implementing the projects that redound to their benefit.

In Surigao del Norte, Matugas said he sees to it that when he is not attending sessions of the House of Representatives, he is attending to the problems of his contituents as a way of showing his love not only on Valentine’s Day but throughout the year.

Meanwhile, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) goes on full alert for today’s anniversary of the 2005 Valentines’ Day bombing in Makati, the Makati Police Department has likewise readied the city’s bomb sniffing dogs to intensify security preparations.

NCRPO Director Leopoldo Bataoil yesterday lauded Makati chief of police Senior Supt. Gilbert Cruz for spearheading an unprecedented move to test the training, skills and effectiveness of the canine dogs deployed in several corporate and public establishments in Makati’s Central Business District.

During an evaluation drill held at the Tower One Exchange Plaza along Ayala Avenue, nine Labrador, Belgian Malinois and German Shepherds were assessed for accuracy in detecting packages containing bomb materials like detonating cords, black powder, Trinitrotoluene or TNT, ammonium picrate or Picratol, ammonium nitrate-fuel oil or ANFO, and Composition 4 or C4 plastic explosives.

"At least eight more canine dogs will be evaluated tomorrow as we try to boost our bomb detection and ordnance unit. We want to make sure the canine dogs are highly trained as effective police force multipliers since Makati City receives an average of three bomb threats per week," Cruz said.

Once a canine dog fails the evaluation, Cruz said he will "recommend it for re-training" prior to the regular drill, which he vowed to conduct every six months.

For his part, Southern Police District director Senior Supt. Jaime Calungsod said he will replicate Cruz’s initiatives.

"The canine dogs are our first line of defense during target hardening so it is just fitting to evaluate if they are functioning well," Calungsod said. (with a report by Kris Bayos, MB)

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