Military says four Northern Luzon areas could be target for terror attacks
The military is monitoring four areas in Northern Luzon which could be possible targets for terror attacks
In a memorandum on August 2, 2019, the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) alerted its forces on a possible terror attack in Laoag City. Ilocos Norte; Vigan, Ilocos Sur; Manaoag, Pangasinan and Tuguegarao City, Cagayan Valley.
The alert memo states that based on the information the military received a “’Crusader City’ with business centers and ‘Crusader Churches’ in Northern Luzon is being targeted for terror attack.”
The memo explained that the “’Crusader cities’ is the term used by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in describing target areas to fuel what they call ‘Banda Crusade’ or war between Muslim and Christian. ‘'Crusader Churches’' is their generic term for all historic Catholic Churches.”
Because of the possible terror threat, Nolcom directed its troops to “heighten intelligence monitoring”, to declare the four areas as high priority targets and to declare red alert status on August 11 to 12.
In a statement on Monday, Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesman, confirmed the authenticity of the alert memorandum.
“The memo was intended for our intelligence units in the Northern Luzon Command’s (NolCom) Area of Responsibility (AOR),” he said.
“The document is genuine but the intent for issuing it is primarily for verification as to the reliability of the source and the veracity of the information,” he added.
However, Arevalo said the report about a possible terror attack is still subject for verification by military intelligence.
“Our SOP (standard operating procedure) dictates never to take chances by dismissing the information outright or believing it as gospel truth. Because no matter how doubtful or credible an information is, we do verification. We have to take, as we have been instituting, appropriate security measures in either case,” he said.
“Our intelligence personnel, in cooperation with other relevant government agencies, are vigorously pursuing leads to validate the veracity of the report, deter its occurrence if found true, secure and protect the people, and contain the threat,” he added.
The military urged the public to continue their normal activities while being vigilant and to report to government authorities any suspicious activities or people within their communities. Robina Asido/DMS