Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Hernando Iriberri on Wednesday ordered all military units nationwide to be on alert to prevent bombings similar to what rocked Bangkok this week where at least 21 people were killed and scores injured.
One of those injured was a Filipino woman, who, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), “requests that her other personal details not be revealed.”
Iriberri “has already ordered our forces to be extra vigilant and conduct measures to prevent a similar incident to occur in our country and all our efforts especially in the field are always in coordination with the PNP [Philippine National Police] and other organizations engaged in security services,” Col. Noel Detoyato, chief of the AFP Public Affairs Office, told reporters at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
“That is the direct order of our chief of staff, this is also in line with his pronouncement during his assumption that the areas under the command of our field units should be hostile and inhospitable to all kinds of threat groups,” he said.
According to Detoyato, there are some threat groups in the country that are capable of staging a similar bombing.
He mentioned in particular the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
When asked if the AFP is raising its alert level, the official said the military will just be increasing its “activities” against threat groups.
Also, Detoyato disclosed that commanders have been ordered to be on the lookout for any indicators and intensify intelligence information related to terror activities.
When pressed if Asian terror group Jema’ah Islamiyah is included in the threat groups that the AFP is monitoring, he just said that there are reports of presence of the group in the country.
The bombing in Bangkok happened on Monday outside a popular religious shrine that was packed with worshippers and tourists at the time of the attack.
Filipinos in the Thai capital also on Wednesday were urged by the Philippine government two days after the explosion to remain vigilant.
In a news conference in Malacanang, Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said the situation in Bangkok has stabilized but Filipinos there should still take precautionary measures.
“Sa pinakahuling ulat ng [Philippine] Embassy, tahimik na ulit sa Bangkok. It seems na bumalik na sa normal ang sitwasyon [The latest report from the Philippine Embassy is that quiet has returned to Bangkok. It seems that the situation there is now normal],” Jose told Palace reporters.
He said the Filipinos in Bangkok had been told to “remain vigilant, stay calm and ensure their personal safety by avoiding crowded places, especially those frequented by foreigners.”
Meanwhile, Jose added, the Philippine government is still assessing the “overall situation before issuing a travel advisory.”
Thailand is home to 14,000 to 15,000 Filipinos, mostly based in Bangkok.