Pinoys abroad urged to be vigilant in wake of New York attack


Posted at Dec 12 2017 01:55 PM

Police officers and fire crew stand outside the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City on Monday. after reports of an explosion. Lucas Jackson, Reuters

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday urged Filipinos overseas to be on guard following an explosion at a major transportation hub in New York that left at least four people injured on Monday.

“We encourage our kababayans abroad to heighten their vigilance,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said.

A Reuters report said a man with a bomb-like device strapped to his body set off an explosion at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, a block away from Times Square.

The suspect, identified by authorities as Akayed Ullah, was among the four people injured in the blast. He sustained burns and laceration while the others, including a police officer, had minor injuries.

The latest attack came more than 5 weeks after 8 persons were killed and 11 others injured also in Manhattan after they were ran over by a truck driven by a follower of the Islamic State. 

“It is important for our kababayans wherever they are abroad to know how to respond in the event of a terror incident,” Cayetano said. 

Cayetano added that Filipinos traveling abroad for work, business or even pleasure must have the contact details of Philippine embassies and consulates in countries they would be going so that they can call their emergency hotlines in case they would need assistance. 

In the consulate's advisory to 56,100 members of the Filipino community in New York, it urged Filipinos to avoid the scene of the explosion and observe usual precautions while the investigation was ongoing.

Consul General Maria Teresa Dizon De Vega said no Filipino was hurt in the blast. She noted that the terminal was used by Filipinos from New Jersey and other nearby areas, including personnel of the consulate and the Philippine Mission to the United Nations, to take their connecting subway rides to their offices in Manhattan.