AN OFFICIAL of the 4th Infantry Division said Friday that the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan are not under immediate threat from terrorists this Christmas season, citing a report by the National Intelligence Board (NIB).
Captain Jo Patrick Martinez, 4th Infantry Division spokesperson, said the NIB, a special monitoring committee under the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), reported that Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities are under Category 2 with moderate terror threats and security concerns from the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Martinez said the intelligence group released the report after a security committee meeting held last November 26 in Davao City.
Martinez said they are, however, monitoring security matters especially since both cities are major cities in Mindanao.
“Hindi pa nakarating sa atin ang report na yan pero we are proactive sa lahat ng sitwasyon and rest assured na mapepre-empt natin yan,” Martinez said.
Martinez said there have been instances when soldiers intercepted the entry of terrorists within their areas of concern citing an interception of an Abu Sayaff group in Agusan del Sur which planned to abduct foreigners.
“Na-confirm natin na members ng Abu Sayaf pero hindi sila na-filan ng kaso wala silang outstanding case walang firearms when they were intercepted. Nakabalik na sila sa area nila somewhere in Western Mindanao,” Martinez said.
No threats on terrorism have been monitored yet for Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, according to Martinez, saying that their intelligence unit are consistent in reporting if there is such.
Martinez believes that the report discussed in the conference in Davao City is not to create confusion or chaos in the minds of the people but to create awareness.
Martinez said the army’s intelligence arm is sharing information with the Philippine National Police and other state security forces to strengthen intelligence gathering.
“Without interoperability and the sharing of information like sa PNP we can’t evaluate sa aming product lang we need to compare notes to confirm that info is correct,” Martinez said.