AFP calls for vigilance vs possible retaliatory terrorist attacks
By Jose Cielito Reganit
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday urged the public to be vigilant amid concerns of possible retaliatory attacks from terrorists following the liberation of Marawi City from pro-Islamic State militants.
AFP spokesperson Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. made the call during the Mindanao Hour briefing in Malacañang as government forces make a final push to neutralize the handful of Maute terrorists still holding out in a very small area in the war-ravaged city.
He said despite the decimation of the Maute terror group due to heavy losses in the almost five-month-long war in Marawi, the threat of retaliatory attacks always remains as long as there are still remnants and supporters of the terror group.
President Rodrigo Duterte made a similar call Thursday when he warned of possible retaliatory attacks from terrorist aligned with the Maute terror group.
“Kaya nga kinakailangan nating manatiling mapagmasid at laging alerto tungkol sa mga bagay na ito dahil may maaaring nakatakas, tulad ng mga nahuli natin sa Cagayan De Oro noong mga naunang linggo na nandiyan pa rin (That’s why we have to be vigilant about these things as there might be rebels who managed to escape like those we caught here in Cagayan de Oro in the early stages of the conflict) lurking around and just looking for an opportunity,” he said.
The military official reinforced this assessment with recent developments in other parts of the world.
He noted that the fall of ISIS in the Middle East has weakened the extremist group’s capabilities to put up sizable forces to control and gain hold of territories.
He pointed out that “there still remains a threat from this group, but not in the magnitude that we have seen in the Middle East nor in the scale by which we have confronted in Marawi.”
“But the most dangerous thing here that may come out is, their remaining network, which may consist of as few as one or two, may still impose a degree of threat in many parts of the world, not only in the Philippines. And you have seen things happening in Europe, Great Britain, regarding lone wolf type attacks. And these are the kind of threats that may come out,” Padilla said.
He added that the only way to address this kind of threat is for the public to remain vigilant and to cooperate with authorities.
“Yung aming panawagan sa lahat, lalo na po doon sa sinasabi nating konsepto ng shared responsibility in security ay napakahalaga at napaka-importante kasi hindi talaga kakayanin ng bilang ng pulis, ng bilang ng sundalo na bantayan ang bawat sulok ng kapuluan. Pero kung ang bawat mamamayan ay kaparte nitong pagbabantay na ito, mas nagiging mainam (our appeal to everybody, especially on the concept of shared responsibility for security is very important because the sheer number of the police and military alone won’t be able to secure every corner of the archipelago. However, with your cooperation, this will be a lot better),” Padilla said. (PNA)