Palace: Philippines on ‘heightened alert’ following the Marawi siege

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MANILA – Malacañang said on Thursday that the Philippines is still on “heightened alert” and has tightened security to prevent lawless violence and rebellion.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this statement after the Japan Foreign Ministry on Monday warned its people of probable attacks on various Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines.

Roque stated that the Philippines had increased security measures following battles between the terrorist Maute Group and government troops in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, in 2017.

“Talaga naman pong tayo po ay nasa heightened alert matapos po yung nangyari sa Marawi. At nagpapasalamat po tayo sa impormasyon pero lalo lang po natin pinaiigting ang ating kahandaan para po harapin ang posibleng terroristic attack muli (We are already under heightened alert since the incident in Marawi. And we are thankful for the information but we will only beef up our preparedness to face possible terror attacks),” he said in a Palace press briefing.

He guaranteed that the country’s law enforcement officers would keep an eye on things and reinforce security.

“Nakahanda naman po ang ating kapulisan at ang ating hukbong sandatahan at hinihingi din natin ang kooperasyon ng ating mamamayan. Ireport niyo po sa kapulisan kung mayroon kayong mga kaduda-dudang mga personalidad o di naman kaya mga kaduda-dudang mga bagay-bagay lalo sa sa mga pampublikong lugar (Our police and military are ready and we also ask for the cooperation of the public. Please report to authorities if you notice suspicious personalities or objects especially in public places),” he added.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar stated in the same briefing that the PNP has received no reports on terror threats in the country related to Japan’s warning.

“Sa aming hanay, wala po kaming nari-receive na ganung threat. But just the same, hindi po namin pinagsa walang bahala yang impormasyon na ‘yan at patuloy ang ating monitoring na ginagawa (In our police force, we have not received such threats. But just the same, we are not disregarding this information and will continue to conduct monitoring),” Eleazar said.

He stated that the PNP will continue to ensure monitoring and security as part of their enforcement of minimum public health standards in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In the implementation or enforcement of these IATF health protocols, yung visibility patrol natin ngayon, ‘yun na rin ang ating crime prevention effort. Ngayon nakarating sa’tin kaalaman yang impormasyon na ‘yan, even though hindi natin sinasabi na totoo o hindi, pero parte naman ng trabaho natin na panatilihing magbantay (our visibility patrol now is also our crime prevention effort. Now that we have received that information, even though we cannot say if it’s true or not, it is already part of our duty to ensure security),” he added.

According to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the country’s current threat level is “moderate”.

“As of now, we have not received any report. We constantly validate all reports on security matters and it is a continuous process. As per last review, our threat level is moderate,” AFP spokesperson, Col. Ramon Zagala said in a statement.

The Japanese Embassy in Manila previously reported that the Japanese government got information of potential terrorist attacks in the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar.

The ministry stated that it had received information indicating that “there are increasing risks such as suicide bombings”, but did not specify the source of the information.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.