MANILA – The Philippines has remained under “heightened alert” and stricter security to suppress lawless violence and rebellion in the country, Malacañang said on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after the Japan Foreign Ministry on Monday warned its citizens of possible attacks on some Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines.
Roque said the Philippines had stepped up security measures since clashes between the terrorist Maute Group and government troops in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur took place in 2017.
“Talaga naman pong tayo po ay nasa heightened alert matapos po yung nangyari sa Marawi. At nagpapasalamat po tayo sa impormasyon pero lalo lang po natin pinaiigting ang ating kahandaan para po harapin ang posibleng terroristic attack muli (We are already under heightened alert since the incident in Marawi. And we are thankful for the information but we will only beef up our preparedness to face possible terror attacks),” he said in a Palace press briefing.
He assured that the country’s law enforcement authorities will monitor and tighten security.
“Nakahanda naman po ang ating kapulisan at ang ating hukbong sandatahan at hinihingi din natin ang kooperasyon ng ating mamamayan. Ireport niyo po sa kapulisan kung mayroon kayong mga kaduda-dudang mga personalidad o di naman kaya mga kaduda-dudang mga bagay-bagay lalo sa sa mga pampublikong lugar (Our police and military are ready and we also ask for the cooperation of the public. Please report to authorities if you notice suspicious personalities or objects especially in public places),” he added.
In the same briefing, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said the PNP has no report on terror threats in the country related to Japan's warning.
“Sa aming hanay, wala po kaming nari-receive na ganung threat. But just the same, hindi po namin pinagsa walang bahala yang impormasyon na ‘yan at patuloy ang ating monitoring na ginagawa (In our police force, we have not received such threats. But just the same, we are not disregarding this information and will continue to conduct monitoring),” Eleazar said.
He assured that the PNP continues to ensure monitoring and security, which is also being carried out as part of their enforcement of minimum public health standards amid the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“In the implementation or enforcement of these IATF health protocols, yung visibility patrol natin ngayon, ‘yun na rin ang ating crime prevention effort. Ngayon nakarating sa’tin kaalaman yang impormasyon na ‘yan, even though hindi natin sinasabi na totoo o hindi, pero parte naman ng trabaho natin na panatilihing magbantay (our visibility patrol now is also our crime prevention effort. Now that we have received that information, even though we cannot say if it’s true or not, it is already part of our duty to ensure security),” he added.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the current threat level in the country is “moderate.”
“As of now, we have not received any report. We constantly validate all reports on security matters and it is a continuous process. As per last review, our threat level is moderate,” AFP spokesperson, Col. Ramon Zagala said in a statement.
The Japanese Embassy in Manila earlier confirmed that the Japanese government received information about possible terrorist attacks in the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar.
The ministry said it had obtained information that “there are increased risks such as suicide bombings”, but did not provide the source of information. (PNA)