MANILA, Nov. 28 (Mabuhay) – Malacañang on Saturday asked the public to remain calm amid reports that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its supporters have reached Philippine shores.
“Marami pong nababalita at mga ulat hinggil dyan sa mga banta na binabanggit ang pangalan ng ISIS. Pero batay sa pagsusuri ng AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) at PNP (Philippine National Police), wala naman pong batayan para kumpirmahin ang mga haka-haka o spekulasyon na iyan,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in an interview.
The Marines earlier killed 8 suspected terrorists in Sultan Kudarat including an Indonesian linked to the 2002 Bali bombings. The slain terrorists were allegedly sympathizers of ISIS.
AFP spokesperson Restituto Padilla has said that other than the ISIS flag found in the camp of Ansurul Khilafah Philippines (AKP) in Barangay Butril, there is insufficient evidence to tie them with ISIS.
“We just treat them as criminals and bandits at the moment. Their claim to becoming extremist terrorists are primarily motivated by trying to get sources of funds and extort money from the general business in the area,” Padilla said.
Quoting the AFP statement, Coloma said: “No credible and verified terrorist presence has been established in our country and this is the reason we need not unduly raise our alert levels. We call on our people to remain vigilant and alert and to cooperate with authorities. Our constant call is for a collective and participative security awareness and preparedness among our people.” (MNS)