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AFP raises alert over Jakarta bombings

Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - January 14, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The military has declared a heightened alert nationwide following the terrorist attacks in Jakarta, Indonesia.

In Metro Manila, the terror alert remains normal, but troops were placed on standby in case police need  military support.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines is now elevating alert levels to heightened alert in all areas,” AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said in an advisory.

Authorities have not picked up specific threats, but police and the military continue to monitor the usual threats from local terrorist groups like the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and Abu Sayyaf, he added.

These two have allegedly pledged allegiance to Islamic State fighters.

They had in the past sheltered foreign militants fleeing prosecution for the 2002 Bali bombings in Indonesia, the military said.

Authorities have asked the public to be vigilant following the death of seven people in a series of bomb attacks in Jakarta.

Security forces are exerting efforts to ensure the safety of the general public, police and military officials said in a joint statement.

“Our security forces are well aware of the emerging threat and have been conducting operations to prevent terror acts anywhere in the country,” the statement read.

“We appeal to the public to be extra vigilant and to help our security forces address the threat. With our collective efforts, we can make a difference in securing our people from any terror acts. That is the Filipino spirit of bayanihan.”

At Malacañang, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. called on the public to exercise heightened vigilance in “support of our security forces’ concerted efforts to address the threats posed by terror elements.”

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the Philippines  condemns the attacks in Jakarta.

“We stand in solidarity with our Indonesian brothers and sisters in this time of tragedy,” the DFA said. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Aurea Calica, Pia Lee-Brago

ACIRC ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES AT MALACA AUREA CALICA BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS AND ABU SAYYAF DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS IN METRO MANILA ISLAMIC STATE PIA LEE-BRAGO PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS OPERATIONS OFFICE SECRETARY HERMINIO COLOMA JR. RESTITUTO PADILLA
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