An alert memo from the Armed forces of the Philippines-Northern Luzon Command (AFP-Nolcom) said Islamic militants are plotting to attack “Crusader Cities” or target areas to incite a religious war.
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Still no proof of Northern Luzon terror plot – PNP
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - August 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — There is no concrete evidence that Islamic State (IS)-affiliated terrorists are planning to conduct attacks in cities in Northern Luzon, according to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde.

He said this was the initial information received from their intelligence operatives who are validating the terror threat report from the military.

“Wala pa naman tayong makuhang concrete evidence na talagang confirmed po yung information na yan,” Albayalde told radio station dzMM yesterday.

An alert memo from the Armed forces of the Philippines-Northern Luzon Command (AFP-Nolcom) said Islamic militants are plotting to attack “Crusader Cities” or target areas to incite a religious war.

The alleged targets include Catholic churches in Laoag City in Ilocos Norte, Vigan City in Ilocos Sur, Manaoag, Pangasinan and Tuguegarao City in Cagayan.

Even if the information remains raw, Albayalde has directed police commanders in Northern Luzon to intensify measures to secure potential targets and prevent possible terror attacks.

He advised the public not to be afraid if they notice that there are more police officers on the streets.

Ilocos police director Brig. Gen. Joel Orduna placed the entire region on full alert status to ensure the availability of police officers in the event of emergencies.

“We have a directive to beef up security forces and establish police patrols and checkpoints in the affected areas,” he said.

NBI probe

 Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to submit an initial report before the end of August on the alleged terror plot of IS in Northern Luzon. 

Guevarra ordered the NBI to check on the veracity of the information received by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that the IS is planning to sow terror on some Catholic churches in Northern Luzon.

“I will give the NBI as much time as needed to validate, if not neutralize, this threat. I will direct the agency to submit an initial report before the end of this month,” said Guevarra.

He said that just like illegal drugs, they treat all terrorism-related information seriously.

“Terrorism, like illegal drugs, is topmost priority for the Department of Justice (DOJ) due to its violent nature and the widespread fear and anxiety that it brings to the general public,” he added.

There have been reports that the intelligence units of the AFP-Nolcom issued an alert memo allegedly about a “Crusader City” with business centers and “Crusader Churches” in their area as targets for terror attack.

The authorities are verifying reports that jihadists are planning to bomb Catholic churches in the cities.

The military is reportedly monitoring Laoag City in Ilocos Norte, Vigan City in Ilocos Sur, Manaoag, Pangasinan and Tuguegarao City in Cagayan.

The Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag is a popular pilgrimage site located in Pangasinan.

Laoag and Vigan have historical landmarks, including major churches that are among favorite tourist destinations, while an 18th-century baroque church can be found in Tuguegarao. 

Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said yesterday that the military is monitoring the IS-inspired Abu Sayyaf and their foreign cohorts that could attack through suicide bombing.

The military said the local terror group and the foreign militants might have been inspired by its success in staging the previous suicide bombing last June 28 that hit a military camp in Indanan, Sulu.

“So we have monitored that they will continue to do it,” said Sobejana.

Sobejana assured the people that the military has intensified intelligence efforts to prevent the terrorists from launching another suicide bombing.

“But we in the Armed Forces being mandated to secure everybody are stepping up also or leveling up our intelligence efforts so that barbaric act of exploding human beings in the middle of the crowd will be prevented,” Sobejana said.

He appealed to the public to remain vigilant since the Abu Sayyaf could launch suicide attacks. – Evelyn Macairan, Roel Pareño

CRUSADER CITIES NORTHERN LUZON RELIGIOUS WAR TERRORISM
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