No internal threat yet related to anti-Islamic film: police-A A +A
Monday, September 17, 2012
MANILA -- Police authorities said Monday there is no imminent threat in the country due to a viral anti-Islamic film that has drawn protests abroad and caused attacks on American diplomatic missions.
But Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr., Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman, told media that they have intensified the security in the country to protect foreign diplomats.
A radio report on Monday morning said police has stepped up security measures in the United States Embassy in Manila by assigning more mobile police patrol cars in the area.
The PNP also said that it is coordinating with other government agencies and the Muslim community to prevent in the country the escalation of similar violent protests against the film.
The film "Innocence of Muslims," which was uploaded on video-sharing website YouTube, has drawn series of violent protests in the Middle East and North Africa as its content was considered blasphemous by many Muslims.
Christopher Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya, and three other American citizens were killed last week when gunmen attacked and burned the US consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, the center of uprising against former strongman Moammar Gadhafi.
On Sunday, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte also said that there are no dangers against envoys, US Embassy personnel, and Americans in the country.
Speaking over state-run dzRB, Valte also said Americans need not to leave the Philippines and that the government "can guarantee the safety" of the US Embassy.
Valte added that the Philippine Muslim community has always conducted themselves with "goodwill and sobriety."
Meanwhile, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) also expressed its "strong condemnation and disapproval of such offensive movie."
On its website, the MILF also urged countries and international organizations especially in the Western Hemisphere to criminalize anti-religious acts against any recognized world religion and acts ridiculing all prophets and messengers.
Sheikh Mohammad Muntassir, head of the MILF Da'wah Committee, also urged Muslims all over the world to stay calm and not to surrender to anger.
A lawmaker from Mindanao also appealed to the Muslim community not to take the law into their own hands over a US-made film insulting Prophet Mohammad.
Sulu Representative Tupay Loong, chairperson of the House committee on Muslim affairs, said that while he condemns the "blasphemous" film, he also appealed to his Muslim brothers and sisters not to add to the violent mass demonstrations happening in other countries.
"As a Muslim and a duly elected representative of a Muslim community in Sulu, I strongly condemn in the strongest term the showing of such blasphemous film, which has brought nothing but turmoil and violence to the already chaotic and turbulent world, as it only aroused the anger and bitterness of the Muslim throughout the world towards the American government," Loong said in a statement.
"There is nothing more infuriating than to know that there are groups of people attempting to destroy the image of Islam for their own end," he said.
Loong appealed to the Philippine government to show its support to its Muslim constituents by condemning the showing of the anti-Islam film.
While Google has decided to block access to the video in Libya and Egypt, Malacañang said it would not request the same and restrict access to the video in the Philippines.
"The Philippine government must also appeal to the US government to hasten the resolution of this issue to end the Muslim protest ad international crisis brought about by the issue," Loong said.
President Benigno Aquino III, meantime, is leaving the decision to block the showing of the anti-Islamic film to the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).
Aquino said it is beyond the power of the Executive to ban the showing of a particular movie and reminded the public about the freedom of expression.
"Let us not forget that under the Constitution is freedom of expression and laws against limiting freedom of speech is prohibited," he said.
"I don't think I can do it just by executive action," he added.
He noted that evaluating the film is more under the jurisdiction of the MTRCB rather than his office.
"The MTRCB under their charter can rate and put an 'X' classification on those offensive or those that are probably injurious or pose an imminent danger to the public. That's the function of MTRCB rather than Office of the President," the Chief Executive said.
Representative Loong earlier urged the President to ban to film saying that allowing the movie to be shown might also anger Filipino Muslims.
Loong said an attack against the Prophet Mohammad is an attack on all Muslims around the world. (Emmanuel Louis Bacani/Jill Beltran/Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)