Japan raises terror threat alert; PHL says ready, assures protection
QUEZON CITY/TOKYO – In a rare advisory, Japanese security authorities have warned of a possible terror attack in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, sounding off an alarm in the region.
Authorities in the Philippines and the other Southeast Asia countries, however, denied one by one of any terror threat but said they would exercise caution and would stay alert.
In the Philippine, security officials of the Department of National Defense, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police clarified they have not received reports on possible terror threats in the country.
“We have not received any report on possible terror attacks as advised by the Japan Foreign Ministry,” said Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, the PNP chief.
Eleazar said the PNP security forces would not be letting their guards down.
“Noon pa man ay patuloy ang aming intelligence monitoring,” Eleazar said. “ At nananatiling maigting ang ating pakikipag-ugnayan sa iba’t ibang bansa laban sa terorismo through information-sharing and partnership in dealing with terror groups.”
The AFP made the same statement, adding its personnel “constantly validate all reports on security matters and is taking seriously all received or disseminated reports of possible terrorism-related activities.
AFP spokesperson Col. Ramon Zagala assured that Filipinos and non-residents are “protected and kept safe” from terror threats in the country, adding the military continues with the fight against all forms of terrorism and violence through intensified internal security operations aimed at preserving peace and order.
“We ensure that all citizens, Filipinos or not, as long as they are within our territory, are protected and kept safe from terrorists’ threats. This is also to underscore the importance of the active participation of the populace in defeating terrorism since security is, after all, everyone’s concern,” he said.
The country’s defense and military sector are on constant heightened alert for terrorism-related activities and threats since the 2017 Marawi siege, Department of National Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said.
“We are working closely with other relevant government agencies and instrumentalities, such as the Anti-Terrorism Council to continuously monitor and assess terror threats within our borders all year round,” Andolong said in a statement.
He said the department took cognizance of the terrorism advisory issued by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to its citizens abroad, adding that the advisory would be subjected to validation.
Earlier, Japan’s Foreign Ministry advised its citizens to avoid “religious facilities and crowds” in six Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, due to possible attacks.
The report said the ministry “obtained information that there are increased risks such as suicide bombings.” Japan’s advisory covered its citizens residing in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar, it added.
The Japanese Embassy confirmed that Japan received information about a possible attack, but did not give further details.
“We issued a warning to alert Japanese people residing in some Southeast Asian countries, but we cannot disclose the source,” the embassy said in a statement.