Government security forces are taking counter-measures amid latest threats supposedly coming from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to sabotage the Miss Universe pageant set in Manila next year.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday said it is taking the ISIS threat, aired in a video now available in social media, seriously.
"We are yet to establish the authenticity and, possibly, the source of the video that issued the threat," said Col. Edgard Arevalo, AFP-Public Affairs chief.
"That notwithstanding, we are taking the threat seriously. As in any threats, whether verified or not, it behooves the AFP- in coordination with the PNP and other counterpart agencies - to take appropriate measures to counter the threats," he added.
At the same time, Arevalo said that AFP chief of staff Gen. Ricardo Visaya is calling on the public to remain calm.
"The AFP chief of staff calls on our people to remain calm. Threats that are intended to cause panic and chaos are the ends of terrorist groups like ISIS," Arevalo said.
The military also maintained that there is no ISIS presence anywhere in the Philippines.
"We reiterate that there is no ISIS in the Philippines. What we have are groups claiming affiliations with ISIS in their bid to draw funds. It is not farfetched for ISIS to claim to have cells in the Philippines to show global membership," Arevalo said.
"General Visaya nonetheless calls on our people to be vigilant, not only because of the threat, but moreso because security is a concern for everybody not only of the security forces. (As the old adage goes), "It's better to err at the side of caution," he added.
Earlier, President Duterte said that in three to seven years, the country would be facing ISIS problem if it does not address the indoctrination of Muslim-Filipinos in southern Philippines by radical-foreigners, including Arabs.
The terrorist Abu Sayyaf group, particularly the band of Isnilon Hapilon based in Basilan, has pledged allegiance with ISIS - using the ISIS Black Flag as background.
In a video came out a few months ago, ISIS supposedly anointed Hapilon as emir or leader of is province in Southeast Asia.c
Source: Daily Tribune