Authorities round up 250 persons of interest in Davao

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Davao City (CNN Philippines, May 25) — Authorities here rounded up some 250 individuals in two barangays early Thursday morning after receiving information on the presence of suspicious-looking persons.

Joint forces of the Task Force Davao and the Davao City Police Office swooped down on the barangays of Bucana and Mini-Forest.

"We are conducting verification of a written report that some unidentified persons ay reportedly pumasok sa area," said Davao City Police Office director Senior Supt. Alexander Tagum. "At kaya narito kami to verify yung mga identification nitong mga taong ito."

[Translation: We are conducting verification of a written report that some unidentified persons reportedly entered the area. And that's why we're here to verify the identification of these people.]

Tagum said the individuals were considered "persons of interest" since they could not present proof of identification.

He added that the officials of the two barangays could not verify the identities of those rounded up.

The persons of interest are now at the DCPO headquarters to undergo a "verification process." They are not under arrest.

Tagum said their operation is part of their effort to prevent the entry of terrorists in one of Mindanao's biggest cities.

On May 24, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the city is on a "hold and secure" status, meaning the local government is preventing a spillover of the violence in Marawi City from reaching Davao.

Read: Travel to and from Davao City discouraged amid martial law

"Hindi naman malayo na kung gusto nilang mag-divert ng attention from what is happening in Marawi, they would want to do it here in Davao City because number one, dito nakatira ang Presidente," the presidential daughter said.

[Translation: It's not impossible that if they want to divert the attention from what is happening in Marawi, they would want to do it here in Davao City because number one, the President lives here.]

Government forces and members of the Maute group have been engaged in sporadic firefights in Marawi City since May 23.

Read: Gov't forces, Maute group clash in Marawi City

There are 22 dead — 13 from the Maute group and nine government troops, officials said.

The Marawi crisis, as well as conflicts in Zamboanga, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and central Mindanao, prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare Martial Law throughout Mindanao on May 23.

Read: Duterte declares martial law in Mindanao

He also suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.

Read: Duterte suspends privilege of writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao

This means the military will be called in to suppress lawless violence in the region and that those linked to rebellion can be arrested without a warrant.

Members of the Maute group were charged with masterminding a deadly blast in a night market here last September that killed 15 people.

Read: At least 14 killed as blast rocks night market in Davao City

CNN Philippines Digital Producer VJ Bacungan contributed to this report.