Duterte ‘pleased’ with Nazarene security amid terror threats
MANILA — President Duterte was pleased with the security measures mapped out by the police and the military for Monday’s (Jan. 9) annual procession of the revered Black Nazarene in Manila amid threats of terror attacks, Malacañang said on Sunday.
Mr. Duterte presided over a meeting of ranking officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Malacañang last Friday regarding the security situation in the country.
The command conference was held a day after Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno disclosed that some members of the extremist Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Abu Sayyaf Group were in Metro Manila to carry out attacks during the country’s biggest religious gathering.
Marie Banaag, presidential communications assistant secretary, said the possibility of terrorist attacks during the grand procession of the Black Nazarene would “not be a good precedent to any other big activities in Metro Manila or any other part in the country.”
“The President is satisfied and he knows that if there is something that worries him, it would be the threat of retaliation from terrorist groups,” Banaag told state-owned DZRB radio.
“Somehow, he knows that the PNP and the AFP are doing their best… to make sure that any threat, any attempt of untoward incident, would not push through,” she said.
The Palace official said the PNP did not determine any specific threat to the devotees of the yearly Black Nazarene procession, popularly known as “Traslacion.”
Said Banaag: “However, they (police) don’t take for granted any possibility of retaliation efforts from the (Abu Sayyaf) after the neutralization of their leaders.”
“With that, they (the PNP) would be putting up measures to avoid any untoward incident (from happening)… (and protect) those who would be joining the procession,” she added. SFM
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