DAVAO CITY: The Philippine National Police on Sunday confirmed reports of a possible terror threat in Davao region, particularly in Davao City.
In a statement, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac said the information about a threat of a terror attack in Davao was “received with high reliability.”
“We could not, however, divulge any further details of said reports received so as not to compromise ongoing security operations by both the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in these areas,” Sindac said.
Sindac said Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas has already ordered the PNP to “beef-up security operations against possible infiltration of suspected members of said reported threat groups.”
“Similarly, all six Police Regional Offices in Mindanao remain on constant alert conditions to ensure their operational readiness and capabilities to respond to all possible contingencies,” he said. “Security forces in these areas will be initiating preemptive security measures in the form of aggressive foot and mobile patrols, conduct of intensified checkpoints and gun check operations, including rigid inspections in land, sea and air transport terminals, commercial centers, places of convergence and vital installations,” he added.
Sindac said police measures are “designed to harden possible soft targets of opportunity.”
Meanwhile, Malacanang assured that there is no specific terrorist threat in Metro Manila, saying that the country’s security agencies are already on top of the situation.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that the intelligence community of the government has not monitored any specific threat in the country’s capital region.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said he has been informed about the terror threat by no less than President Benigno Aquino 3rd himself. “The President told me to take the reports seriously. Meaning, he was asking us to work. That was an admonition from the President.”
This came following the end of the Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines (JSOTF-P), a United States anti-terror program established 13 years ago, immediately after the 9/11 terror attack. Under JSOTF-P, elite American soldiers were deployed in the Philippines to track down Muslim militants with links to Al-Qaeda, including Abu Sayyaf and the Jemaah Islamiyah.
Duterte said intelligence reports tell of possible terror attacks in Kidapawan City, Koronadal City, or Cagayan de Oro City.
“Coming from the President, it must be very serious. So we are not taking it lightly,” Duterte said.
Duterte also met with ranking officials of the police and the military on Thursday to talk about the security matters and prevent terror groups from successfully launching their attacks in Davao City.
“There was an order from the President to take the reports seriously. And so I am asking everyone to work themselves to death,” he said.