Erap brushes aside threat of terror attack in Metro Manila

MANILA– Manila Mayor Joseph Erap Estrada on Wednesday brushed aside reports circulating in the social media that the radical Islamist Maute group plans to stage bombings in several areas in Metro Manila, including Manila’s Quiapo district.

At the sidelines of the awarding ceremonies for outstanding educators of Manila � part of the 446th Araw ng Maynila celebrations at the Manila Hotel, Estrada called on the public to practice restraint in reacting to unverified reports they get in the Internet.

The likelihood of an imminent threat is very, very minimal here in the City of Manila, so there’s nothing to worry about, the Manila mayor assured.

On Monday, a copy of a supposed memorandum from the Station Intelligence Branch (SIB) of the Valenzuela City Police Station, revealing the purported plan of the Maute group to bomb several locations in Metro Manila, were circulated in Facebook.

The one-page memorandum dated June 16, 2017 and with a subject line Plan (sic) Bombing in Metro Manila stated that Maute group, led by Mambang Maute and Abu Hidaya Maute, are planning to conduct bombing (sic) in Trinoma, Quezon City, SM Cubao, Quezon City Circle, certain places in Quiapo and Makati.

Signed by one Chief Insp. Jowilouie Bonaobra Hilario, SIB chief, it directed the Police Community Precinct (PCP) commanders to please take appropriate action, initiate counter security measures to prevent government casualty and attacks from the enemy, particularly PNP stations/AFP units and vital installations in your respective AORs.

Hilario has since been relieved pending investigation of the leakage.

Manila Police District (MPD) director Chief Supt. Joel Coronel said he, too, came across the document in Facebook.

The information is yet to be validated and verified. It’s just a directive for all PNP personnel to be on alert, to remain vigilant, and also to conduct intelligence operations to validate that information, kung may threat, he explained.

Asked if the memorandum is fake, Coronel said it appeared to be authentic.

Nevertheless, the MPD chief reassured that the 4,600-strong city police force have remained in full alert to conduct possible interdiction and security measures to prevent such terror attacks.

As directed by Mayor Estrada, we’re still on a 24/7 full alert, precisely why we are conducting round-the-clock checkpoint operations, patrol visibility, both mobile and foot patrols, in different areas of Manila, Coronel added.

So as not to cause unnecessary panic, he advised netizens to refrain from posting or re-sharing in social media anything remotely connected to terrorism that has not been independently verified or confirmed as genuine by law enforcement authorities.

Just remain vigilant and report any suspicious persons, activities, or situations you happen to observe to the police, Coronel stressed.

Source: Philippines News Agency