Immigration on alert for ‘terror plot’
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Friday placed its intelligence operatives and agents in all ports of entry nationwide under “heightened alert” following reports that members of the Asian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) are in the country and have linked up with members of the Abu Sayyaf extremist group to bomb targets in Metro Manila.
In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. said he had instructed BI intelligence chief Ma. Antonette Mangrobang to coordinate with military and police intelligence officials in verifying the report about the alleged presence of foreign terrorists in the country.
David specifically directed the BI’s newly-formed anti-terrorist unit to deploy its men to the field and monitor the activities of foreigners, particularly those considered “high risk.”
Mangrobang said immigration officials at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and other subports nationwide have already adopted measures to strictly screen and monitor arriving foreigners.
“Foreign passengers who might be profiled as public charges or potential threats to national security will be turned back and booked on the first available flight to their port of origin,” she added.
Mangrobang also disclosed that the bureau maintains a database of “thousands” of suspected foreign terrorists and whose names are now in the bureau’s blacklist of undesirable aliens.
The other day, authorities said they are verifying reports that the JI and Abu Sayyaf have sent militants to bomb targets in the capital.
Military and police intelligence officials said they are taking the report seriously and have deployed operatives in the metropolis to thwart any terror attack.
But Malacañang has dismissed the report as raw and unconfirmed.
Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said there’s no reason for the public to alter its activities as a result of the threat. Norman Bordadora and Dona Pazzibugan
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