Philippine authorities have been taking measures to avert any potential terror attack in the country amid recent threat of the Islamic State (IS), a Malacañang official said on Sunday, June 26.
“Ang banta ng terorismo saan man ito galing ay hinaharap at tinutugunan ng ating Sandatahang Lakas at Pambansang Pulisya,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said in his regular interview on state-run Radyo ng Bayan.
Coloma was reacting to reports that IS, formerly known as ISIS or the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, has urged followers in Southeast Asia to launch terror attacks in the Philippines and Malaysia and not just in Syria.
The call was issued by Malaysian militant group leader Mohd Rafi Udin through a 20-minute video, as reported by Reuters.
Udin has urged IS supporters to go to the Philippines and join the group of Abu Abdullah, also known as Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader Isnilon Hapilon, who earlier pledged allegiance to ISIS.
Hapilon is included in the most wanted terrorists list of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation carrying a bounty of $5 million.
ASG has been blamed for terror attacks, atrocities and heinous crimes in the Philippines including the separate beheadings of two Canadian nationals Robert Hall and John Ridsdel.
Coloma dismissed the recent threat of IS noting that the public should not be terrified and must join hands to fight terrorism.
“Sa tulong ng mga mamamayan, mahahadlangan at maitataboy ang mga bantang iyan,” Coloma stressed.
Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla earlier downplayed the threat as mere propaganda.
“People should not be bothered by this. Authorities are working on this. They can be identified and they can be hunted down,” he said. (MC)