MANILA -- The Philippines and its allies in the fight against terrorism got more reasons to stick together in the face of the devastating truck bomb attack on Marriott Hotel in Pakistan, a Malacañang official said on Sunday.
At least 53 people were killed, including Czech Ambassador Ivo Zdarek, while more than 270 others -- one of them a Filipino woman -- were injured in the Saturday night attack, described as one of the deadliest terrorist strikes in Pakistan.
The bombing has prompted the Philippine National Police to place its forces on alert.
"All the more we should have unity of purpose with our allies,'' Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said, shrugging off suggestions for the Philippines to review its policy of supporting the US-led global fight against terror.
Dureza described terrorism as a "global menace'' and said that everyone should help quash it.
Like Pakistan, President Macapagal-Arroyo?s administration has allied itself with the United States in the war on terror. Since 2001, the Philippines has allowed US special forces to train Filipino troops in fighting terror groups in the South.
The Filipino bombing victim, a female hotel receptionist, was "in critical condition" in an Islamabad, Pakistan hospital, after sustaining injuries in the Marriot Hotel attack, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.
The woman, who is married to a Pakistani national, is being treated at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad, according to the DFA statement.
"The Philippine Embassy is closely monitoring her condition,? it said.
The foreign office did not identify the woman and gave no details about the extent of her injuries, in line with a DFA protocol which requires that a victim's family should be informed first.
PNP Director General Avelino Razon Jr. ordered on Sunday a tightening of security in hotels and vital installations in the country.
"We are also placing our security forces on alert against any possible attack here... We are on alert," Razon told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone.
The police chief, who is set to retire within September, said intelligence work with various foreign agencies has been intensified.
"Terrorism knows no borders," Razon said when asked if, like Pakistan, the Philippines was vulnerable to terrorist attacks for its strong alliance with the United States.
He also said the Philippines itself had "homegrown terrorists," such as the Abu Sayyaf bandit group and the "communist terrorists."
The Abu Sayyaf is linked to Saudi militant Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network and has gained international notoriety for its kidnap-for-ransom activities targeting locals and foreigners, and for beheading some of its victims.
With a report from Tarra V. Quismundo