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Zubiri: Radicalization stepped up after Marawi Siege

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Wednesday called on regional government and local executives to monitor alleged radicalization efforts in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) following the 2017 Marawi Siege.

"Nagkakaroon ng radicalization ulit after Marawi Siege. Ito ay mga kamag-anak, kaibigan nu'ng mga namatay sa Marawi Siege," Zubiri told reporters in a chance interview after an executive session on the deadly blast at the Mindanao State University (MSU) over the weekend.

[There are radicalization efforts after the Marawi Siege. These are relatives and friends of those who died in the incident.]

"We have to urge the BARMM government together with the local officials to monitor talaga itong radicalization efforts 'Di mawawala 'yan eh," the senator said.

[We have to urge the BARMM government and local officials to monitor the radicalization efforts. These will persist.]

Senate leaders met with Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. and intelligence officials to discuss the bomb attack at the MSU-Marawi that claimed the lives of four persons and injured 45 others.

While he cannot divulge what transpired during the executive session, Zubiri said that he was "satisfied" with the response of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

He reiterated that a manhunt is underway for the identified persons of interest, whom he said are "locals."

"Hinahabol na ng ating authorities itong mga 'to. They’re now securing all high-level possible threat areas which are places where the public goes to. More military and police all over the island of Mindanao since it's under heightened level of alert, together with Metro Manila," said Zubiri.

[Authorities are now after the POIs. They're now securing all high-level possible threat areas where the public goes to. More military and police all over the island of Mindanao since it's under a heightened level of alert together with Metro Manila.]

"In other words, we are all safe. After the briefing, it was shown the Philippines is in safe hands. The PNP and AFP have it under control," he added.

The blast occurred at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday as a Catholic Mass was being held at the gym attended by students and teachers.

The fatalities were identified as Junrey Barbante, Riza Daniel, Janine Arenas, and Evangeline Aromin.

Asked if authorities are investigating claims that there was a failure of intelligence in the incident, Zubiri said: “We don’t want to have any alarmist statement… 'Wag tayo matakot [Let us not be afraid]. The AFP and PNP have it all under control”.

For his part, Teodoro said they are investigating all possible angles on the bomb attack.

"We are looking at all angles. Open pa 'yung case, let's wait for the investigation," he said. - VDV, GMA Integrated News