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All PH airports under heightened alert due to possible terrorist attacks

Cops on patrol as security at NAIA was heightened ©www.mb.com.ph

ALL Philippine airports, including the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), were placed under heightened alert status over the weekend following reports that terrorist are poised to attack vital installations and other crowded areas in the country.

The Aviation Security Group (Avsegroup) of the Philippine National Police said they are monitoring the situation even while still verifying the veracity of the said report which was earlier circulated in the social media.

Last Sunday, the Avsegroup alerted its personnel in all Philippine airports nationwide due to possible terrorist attacks. It cited the probability that terrorists elements could hijack “petroleum and gas delivery trucks to be used as vehicle bombs.”

Furthermore, the Avsegroup said the possible target areas of the terrorists include “churches, shopping malls and other populated areas.”

At the same time, the Avsegroup said members of the Maute group and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom fighters (BIFF) could launch attacks on key cities nationwide on June 30, 2017. It further said that foreign terrorist groups could also stage suicide attacks.

It was also gathered that members of the Maute special units who graduated last November from explosive training have already been in placed on their respective targets nationwide to simultaneously execute the said attack during the Friday prayer ‘Jumaah’ and that mosques will not be spared,” the Avsegroup added.

This developed as Avsegroup Director Rudencindo Reales ordered his men to intensify intelligence gathering, monitoring and coordination with other intelligence agencies. Consequently, all Philippine airports, especially the four major international airports – Manila, Clark, Cebu-Mactan and Davao – are now in heightened alert status.

Meanwhile, National Capital Region Police Office Director Oscar Albayalde on Tuesday said there is no security threat in Metro Manila amid the ongoing armed conflict in Mindanao. He made the clarification noting that his office received from the social media the same information the Avsegroup is citing. 

Nevertheless, Albayalde said, they are ready to meet any contingency.

Benjie Vergara
A veteran reporter covering the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. He is currently writing for Manila Times, the Philippines' oldest newspaper.

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