AFP: ‘Alert memo’ on terror attack genuine, info subject to validation
MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday affirmed the issuance of an “alert memo” but said that it is still verifying the alleged possible terror attacks in areas within the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom).
In the memo, intelligence units of Nolcom were ordered to “heighten intelligence monitoring” in their area of responsibility amid the reports about establishments and churches being targeted for a terrorist attack.
The memo, which was dated August 2, was written by Col. Glenn Celebrado, Nolcom’s assistant chief for unified command staff for intelligence.
According to the memo, “‘Crusader Cities’ is the term used by ISIS in describing target areas to fuel what they call ‘Bandar Crusade’ or war between Muslim and Christians. While, ‘Crusader Churches’ is their generic term for all historic Catholic Churches.”
The “definition,” the memo also noted, “fits, but not limited to” Laoag City; Vigan City; Manaoag, Pangasinan; Tuguegarao City.
AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said the document was authentic but it was only issued for verification of the information.
“Our SOP dictates never to take chances by dismissing the information outright or believing it as gospel truth. Because no matter how doubtful or credible an information is, we do verification. We have to take, as we have been instituting, appropriate security measures in either case,” he said.
“Our intelligence personnel, in cooperation with other relevant government agencies, are vigorously pursuing leads to validate the veracity of the report, deter its occurrence if found true, secure and protect the people, and contain the threat,” he also said.
While he urged the public to remain calm and continue with their daily activities, he still encouraged people to stay vigilant of their surroundings. /kga
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