By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson called for vigilance from the public amid terror threats received by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). According to the governor, the threat is a “very serious concern” but the information still needs to be verified.
While acknowledging police in the province are not taking the issue for granted, he ordered Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office director, Police Colonel Romeo Baleros, to secure all areas.
Earlier, Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) spokesperson, Police Lt. Colonel Ariel Pico said their units have been placed on “full alert” after law enforcement and military received intelligence suggesting terrorists were planning to target several churches.
The BCPO spokesperson said they have since assigned police officers to the city’s churches, particularly the San Sebastian Cathedral. He also said law enforcement has recommended Diocese of Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon and parish priests to adopt tighter security protocols.
The AFP had earlier received an intelligence memo that two Sri Lankan-nationals with links to the Islamic State (IS) were planning to conduct attacks on institutions IS deemed as ‘crusader churches’ in Luzon. However, the AFP is also expressing doubts regarding the veracity of the report as the information came from a Singapore-based newspaper outlet.
The memo was released days after President Rodrigo Duterte expressed fears of terror attacks by IS in the country./DGB, WDJ