AFP chief visits Sulu, Zamboanga amid alert following Jakarta attack
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Hernando Iriberri visited Sulu and Zamboanga in Mindanao on Friday amid heightened security alert in the wake of Jakarta attacks.
“He has gone there also to reiterate our message to everyone in the AFP that we have gone on heightened alert because of the recent incidents that have occurred in Jakarta. We are in solidarity with our Indonesian brothers regarding these attacks. We’d like to prevent any others from happening in the region,” AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla told reporters at Camp Aguinaldo on Friday.
Iriberri is scheduled to visit Basilan on Saturday.
The Philippine military heightened its security alert after the explosions in Indonesia’s capital on Thursday, supposedly staged by the ISIS.
Iriberri also extended his gratitude to soldiers in these areas “due to their sacrifices especially they have been making this last holiday season,” Padilla said.
The soldiers did not take a holiday break and many stayed because of the stepped up military and law enforcement operations, he explained.
President Benigno Aquino III ordered to intensify their operations against militants after a Malaysian captive of the Abu Sayyaf was beheaded last November in Sulu.
“The mission has not changed. The President’s instruction has not changed. We are committed to finish this mission to its fruitful end until every kidnap victim has been rescued and until every issue on security in the area has been solved,” Padilla said.
As the ISIS attacks get close to the Philippines, with the latest one supposedly in Indonesia, Padilla reiterated that “there is no credible and verified link to any international group.”
No specific security threat has been monitored in the Philippines after the attacks in Indonesia, other than those from Abu Sayyaf and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
“Nothing has been monitored,” Padilla said.
Security forces are also continuing with their military and law enforcement operations but Padilla said “there is no drastic and significant change in our posture.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.