Malacañang cautioned the public to be more careful after the military confirmed that one of the suicide bombers in the Indanan, Sulu attack last month was Filipino.
“It’s a cause for concern given that this is the first time there is a Filipino suicide bomber,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said. “It goes against the grain of the character of Filipinos [to commit] suicide for terrorism.”
His warning came after the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police confirmed that one of the suicide bombers, Norman Lasuca, was Filipino.
Lasuca and another unidentified attacker blew themselves up outside a military camp, killing three soldiers and two civilians.
The attack marked a major escalation in terror tactics by local extremists.
The international terror group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Indanan attack, but the authorities have yet to confirm the claim.
Panelo said the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte is always to enhance the technology in surveillance and intelligence work
to avoid the escalation of violence in the country, particularly in Mindanao.
READ: ‘Very dangerous times ahead’
He also advised the public to immediately report threats to authorities.
“Be careful. Report the threats to authorities, especially the unusual situations which might affect them,” Panelo said.
He also said the possibility of extending martial law in Mindanao lies in the hands of the President.
Duterte has asked Congress to support his administration in strengthening the Armed Forces in preparation for “very dangerous times” ahead for the country.
“I’d rather that I leave with a strong military and police… equipped to challenge the enemies of the state, especially terrorism...So, I must be prepared. And I already bought what we need, but there are still a few things that I must have for my Armed Forces and the police,” the President said on Tuesday.
The AFP said Wednesday it would make adjustments in security techniques, tactics, and procedures after the Sulu attack.
“Definitely, we will have adjustments in our [security] techniques, tactics, and procedure given this development in Sulu but as you know and I know you would understand we just cannot reveal that to you because those are operational matters that cannot be publicly announced,” said AFP spokesman Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo.
Arevalo also said the AFP will also develop doctrines for fighting in urban terrain based on the combat experience of soldiers during the five-month battle for Marawi City in 2017.
Earlier, the military and police confirmed that one of the two bombers behind the suicide bombing attack at the tactical command post of the 1st Brigade Combat Team in Barangay Kajatian, Indanan, Sulu, was a Filipino as proven by DNA tests.
“This springs from the outcome of the joint investigation by the AFP and the result of the DNA testing by the PNP of the samples taken from Mrs. Vilman Lasuca (mother) and Alhussin Alam Lasuca (brother)—both Tausug Filipinos and that of Norman Lasuca, the suicide bomber,” Arevalo said.
The June 28 bomb attack was the third of its kind in Mindanao with the first in a military checkpoint in Lamitan, Basilan on July 31, 2018, killing 10 people.
The second was in a cathedral in Jolo, Sulu which killed 20 persons, including the alleged suicide bombers, on Jan. 27.
AFP public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato said threat of terrorism made the military modernization program even more relevant today.
“This is the reason the AFP is doubling its efforts in implementing the AFP modernization and it’s counterterrorism operations in the south. The face of global terrorism is ever changing and so we have to keep up with the pace,” Detoyato said.
Detoyato said the AFP is taking advantage of the support of the President to fully transform itself and better perform its mandate. With PNA
READ: ‘Suicide bomber’ defies PH culture