THE Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are validating reports that two Sri Lankan “suicide bombers” were able to infiltrated the country.
PNP spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac and AFP spokesman Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said the AFP and PNP were coordinating to validate such information.
Both officials urged the public to remain calm and vigilant at all times and report immediately to the authorities any unusual observations in their surroundings.
“We have to validate that report with other agencies of government. The information immediately available are reports coming from media. We already have some information that we are checking with another agency. We will update you,” said Arevalo.
On Friday, August 9, a report by the Straits Times of Singapore said suspected suicide bombers Mark Kevin Samhoon and Victoria Sophia Sto. Domingo have slipped into the country despite being on the Manila International Airport Authority's (MIAA) watchlist.
Samhoon, whose mother is a Filipina, was linked to the bombings in Sri Lanka that killed over 200 people in April.
According to another new report, Sto. Domingo and Samhoon were operating with the Suyuful Khilafa Fi Luzon which has links to terrorist organization Islamic State (ISIS). The group is reportedly planning to stage attacks in churches and other establishments.
The said reports surfaced after the Northern Luzon Command of the AFP alerted its units to possible terror attacks in its area of responsibility.
Arevalo said such information is still being verified although he said the document which contains the order is legitimate.
The Nolcom said it received an intelligence information on August 2, stating that a “Crusader City” with business centers and “Crusader Churches” in the Northern Luzon are being targeted for terror attack by the ISIS.
“Crusader Cities is the term used by ISIS in describing target areas to fuel what they call ‘Bandar Crusade’ or war between Muslim and Christian while ‘crusader churches’ is their generic term for all historic Catholic churches,” the Nolcom said.
Nolcom mentioned the cities of Laoag, Vigan and Tuguegarao and Manaoag in Pangasinan as the places that fit the description of the target areas. (SunStar Philippines)