Palace: Gov’t taking terror threat seriously
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang assured the public, on Sunday, that authorities have not been “taking for granted” the alleged terrorist threat in Metro Manila following the arrest of three suspected members of the Rajah Solaiman Movement (RSM) last week.
“There is no complacency regarding that matter, that’s why it’s better for our people to remain calm and watchful,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said on Sunday on Radyo ng Bayan.
The US Embassy earlier issued a travel advisory, warning its citizens to “remain vigilant and maintain an appropriate level of personal security in all circumstances by personally reviewing your personal security plans.”
Americans were also told to remain “aware of your surroundings, including local events” and monitor “local news sources for updates.”
The US Embassy sounded the alarm following the Oct. 5 arrest of three suspected RSM members at a police checkpoint in Quezon City. Suspects Ricardo Ayeras, Andrecio Valdez Manuel and Ricky Macapagal were found in possession of a hand grenade and fake documents.
The 41-year-old Ayeras, alias Abdul Karim Ayeras, was a suspect in the 2003 bombing of the Awang Airport in Maguindanao.
The Philippine National Police earlier downplayed the alleged terrorist threat, but said that it was not ruling out “the possibility that the situation was being exploited by other persons.”
Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. has also assured the public that it is “still safe” in Metro Manila and there is “no need to panic.”
“We are doing our best to find out if there is really a threat but as of now, we have not received any report,” he said.
Coloma said the government was also looking into reports that the Islamic State was trying to recruit members in Mindanao.
“We appeal to our people to continue to be watchful. But at the same time, they shouldn’t worry because our authorities are on top of the situation,” he said.
PH checking if terror group has IS links
PNP on heightened alert; assures no terror threat
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