U.S. embassy advises citizens of security measures in Manila

SAFETY. The United States embassy reminds its citizens in the Philippines to practice preventive measures to ensure safety. File photo by AFP

SAFETY. The United States embassy reminds its citizens in the Philippines to practice preventive measures to ensure safety.

File photo by AFP

MANILA, Philippines – The United States embassy in Manila issued a security message to US citizens regarding the full alert status of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The message, issued on Sunday, May 28, advised Americans that there would be heightened security in Metro Manila.

This comes after the clashes in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur between the military and Maute Group terrorists that prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao. (READ: TIMELINE: Marawi clashes prompt martial law in all of Mindanao)

The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) was placed on full alert following the clashes in Marawi City. Soldiers were deployed to Quezon City to help in the implementation of random checkpoints, security patrols, and other operations. 

While the US embassy acknowledged the PNP's statement that the alert status is a "precautionary measure" and is not related to any specific terror treat against Metro Manila, it pointed out that there is an ongoing threat of violence against Americans.

"The US embassy wishes to remind US citizens of the most recent Worldwide Caution, dated March 6, 2017, which indicates there is an ongoing threat of terrorist actions and violence against US citizens and interests abroad, including the Philippines," it said in the message.

Targets of extremists, the embassy said, include sporting events, theaters, markets, transportation systems, malls, and other public spaces where large crowds are present.

"US citizens should be mindful of the importance of taking preventative measures to ensure their safety and security while traveling and residing in the Philippines," it added.

Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Centre for Political Violence & Terrorism Research in Singapore, earlier told Rappler that the Islamic State (ISIS) "is planning to hit Manila and other capitals in the region" during Ramadan. (READ: ISIS planning more attacks in PH and region – terror expert)

He also said ISIS was behind the twin blasts in Quiapo last May 6, though Philippine police have rejected claims of ISIS involvement.

"Both Saturday attacks in Quiapo were by ISIS," Gunaratna said. "These are targeted and probing attacks testing the environment for more attacks." – Rappler.com