PH military asks communities to step up amid spate of bombings
MANILA, Philippines – Amid the spate of bombings in Mindanao, the military is asking communities to discreetly report hideouts of local terrorists and notify authorities about suspicious activities in their localities.
“We urge every individual – every man or woman, young or old – to be vigilant and actively involved in reporting their observation of any suspicious activities or persons in their localities,” said Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Colonel Edgard Arevalo on Monday, September 3.
A second bombing rocked Sultan Kudarat on Sunday, September 2, despite tighter security and checkpoints in the town center a week after the first explosion occurred on August 28. Two were killed while 12 others were injured.
Arevalo recalled how the vigilance of a street sweeper prevented an attempted attack on the US embassy in Manila in 2016.
Another ISIS-inspired group, the Maute Group, was allegedly behind the foiled attempt.
“Only with that unity of our communities; only with that degree of vigilance and participation of our people combined with the diligent and dedicated government security forces can we as a nation triumph over these terrorists,” said Arevalo.
A PVC canister – filled with black powder and concrete nails – was used on Sunday’s bombing in Sultan Kudarat. It exploded near the Novo Building located at the town center.
The military has tagged the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) as being behind the attack in Sultan Kudarat, a local armed group whose leaders pledged allegiance to international terrorist network Islamic State (ISIS).
The Isulan blasts also occurred a month after a deadly explosion that killed 10 in Lamitan City, Basilan, including women and a child.
Military officers told Rappler the ISIS-inspired groups have been resorting to bombing in recent months because they couldn’t launch bigger attacks. (READ: 2 bombings in a month demonstrate ISIS tactics)
Arevalo said the terrorist group is trying to “steal the momentum” of the military after months of practically no reported explosions in the region. – Rappler.com