THE Philippine National Police (PNP) doused fears of a possible terror attack in Manila similar to the bombings in Jakarta, Indonesia, that killed at least seven people, saying security agencies have tightened their watch on port and airports to prevent foreign terrorists from slipping into the country.
PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor told reporters in Camp Crame in Quezon City on Saturday that intelligence agents are working round the clock gathering information and monitoring perceived threat groups.
“The Directorate for Intelligence is busy working and gathering information and monitoring the movement of [known]threat groups in the country specially in the southern part,” Mayor said.
The PNP official added that the Directorate for Intelligence may be coordinating with Indonesian officials to ensure that international terrorists hiding there will not be able to enter the Philippines.
The Philippines and Indonesia are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Police or Aseanapol that are constantly exchanging information as safeguard against terrorism, Mayor explained.
He said the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are working together to stop terror attacks.
The PNP raised its alert level immediately after the Jakarta bombings, which was claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Malaysian authorities have arrested four suspected militants and confiscated a weapon along with Islamic State group (IS) documents, national police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said also on Saturday.
One of them, a 28-year old Malaysian, admitted that he was planning to be a suicide bomber.
“The suspect admitted that he had planned a suicide attack in Malaysia and was awaiting instructions from a member of IS in Syria,” Khalid said.
The police chief added that on January 11, three Malaysian IS suspects were arrested by security forces after being deported from Turkey.
“They were first detained in Turkey while attempting to sneak into Syria to join IS fighters,” Khalid said.
Authorities say dozens of Malaysians have traveled to Syria to fight for the radical IS group and warn they may seek to return home and import its ideology.
Since 2015, police have arrested numerous suspects whom they say were IS sympathizers plotting attacks.