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Dela Rosa: Heightened alert in malls

MANILA, Philippines – The chief of the Philippine police force told the public not to panic after a bomb was discovered outside the United States embassy in Manila, but announced that authorities are on heightened security and intelligence alert.

Particularly, the Philippine National Police will ask mall owners to beef up security in their establishments, while the PNP mulls setting up checkpoints again.

"We will heighten intelligence-gathering efforts and further heighten security," PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa said in a televised press conference on Monday, November 28.

"We may revive checkpoints," he added.

Like the regional police did earlier in the day, Dela Rosa described the improvised explosive device found near the American embassy as similar to the one used in the night market blast in Davao City last September.

He said the design of the IED, its composition, and "the way it is connected" were signature of the Maute terrorist group that is currently the subject of a military offensive in Mindanao.

While "there is no hard evidence yet," he said, "an argument can be made" that the Maute group was behind the attempted bomb attack.

Dela Rosa said in Filipino, "We can theorize that they are doing this (Manila bomb) as a diversionary tactic."