No immediate perceived terror threat in PH: AFP
MANILA – There is no perceived immediate terror threat to the Philippines, the Armed Forces said, a few days after Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a warning to its citizens about possible terror attacks in the country.
“For now, the security level is moderate, that means there is no perceived attack at the moment,” Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Col. Ramon Zagala said.
“We have already neutralized a lot of the bombers that conducted bombing in Sulu and Basilan, and we believe we have already gotten most of them. We’re still monitoring just a little bit. But right now we can safely say that it’s secured and stable,” he said on ANC’s “Rundown.”
Zagala said they have yet to receive any message from Japan officials about the possible terror attacks it mentioned in the notice it issued to its citizens.
“What we received is about three days ago when a wire service called us to verify if we did receive or we can verify the report from an announcement that they heard from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan. And immediately we took the information and we validated,” he said.
“Although we did not receive a formal notice from the Japanese government or from higher authorities, we take all reports seriously that pertain to security matters and specially on terrorism. And from that point, we process the information and we validated all reports. As you know, validation is a continuous process. And as we speak, we still are validating proof through our different sources if there is such a threat.”
Zagala said they respect the decision of Japanese authorities to issue an advisory to its citizens about possible terror threats, although this is not usually the protocol they follow.
“The process really is, when there is a terrorist threat, as you know terrorism has no borders. It’s not like in Southeast Asia wherein we have political borders between country to country. In terrorism there is no borders na, they can cross, they have a certain interest so it’s important that we coordinate. And we do so through the Anti-Terror Council.”
“And a member of the Anti-Terror Council is several secretaries, to include the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, which they constantly communicate and conduct linkages with other countries. The interest of countries are always to inform each other, and on our part we also have an obligation to inform if we find out there’s an attack to another country.”
“And that always happens so maybe let’s just wait for Japan and they too are maybe still processing their information and they will let us know.”
Zagala said Japanese authorities may still be vetting their info.
“Sometimes the process takes long. We do not know really how Japan conducts their processing of information but I’m sure in the next few days we hope to hear from them,” he said.
He said the Armed Forces is continuously working to protect the Philippines from terrorist threats.
“We always monitor the local terrorist groups. We still have the remnants of the Abu Sayyaf, the (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) the Maute group, and that although their forces are severely diminished, it does not mean we should let our guard down, and that we do constantly look into the situation specially in our areas of concern where the local terrorist groups are moving,” he said.
--ANC, 16 September 2021