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Philippines doubles monitoring efforts on possible terror attack after Japan’s advisory —Lorenzana

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday said the country is boosting its monitoring efforts against terror threats following the advisory of Japan on possible attack in the Philippines.

Lorenzana told GMA News Online that the military does not see any signs of possible terror attack.

“According to military intelligence, there are no indications of an imminent attack. The same with the PNP. Be that as it may the security sector is always on alert for any terror acts,” he said in a message.

“With this information from the Japanese, we are doubling our monitoring efforts.  After all, amongst the Asean countries, the Philippines had the most number of terror attacks in the past 20 years,” he added.

Lorenzana noted that the government has an Anti-Terrorism Council which coordinates and collates all information on possible terror acts.

At the same time, Lorenzana asked the public to relax as his department seeks more details regarding the purported threat.

“Relax lang kayo dahil wala naman tayong nakikitang imminent threat (Just relax because we do not see an imminent threat) he said at a press conference.

Lorenzana said the Department of National Defense has been contacting its Japanese counterpart to obtain more details on the information.

“Kino-contact na natin yung defense attache na nandito sa Pilipinas dun sa Japanese embassy (We have been contacting the defense attaché here in the Philippines, in the Japanese embassy,” he said.

Lorenzana said they are still waiting for a response from the Japanese government.

Airports, seaports

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said its personnel in all international airports and seaports remain on alert to prevent any attempt by international terrorists to enter the country.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said BI personnel are “extra cautious” in allowing the entry of foreign nationals with doubtful purpose. 

“Those who fail to satisfactorily explain their purpose in coming are turned away and booked on the first available flight back to their port of origin,” he said in a statement.

Morente also said the BI maintains a database of suspected international terrorists.

“We have a shared database with numerous local and international intelligence agencies including the INTERPOL. This database and other derogatory files are integrated into the electronic system, regularly updated, and is used by our immigration officers in processing and conducting arrival formalities for passengers, thus allowing us to detect such attempts,” the BI chief said.

On Tuesday, Japan's embassy in Manila confirmed that its government has received information on possible terror attacks or suicide bombing in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines.

The Foreign Ministry of Japan has advised its citizens in these countries to stay away from religious facilities and crowds.

Aside from the Philippines, the warning also covers Japanese citizens in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar.— with Virgil Lopez/AOL/RSJ, GMA News