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Japan warns of terror attack in PH

The Embassy of Japan in the Philippines confirmed on Tuesday it has received information about a possible terror attack that may occur in any of the six Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines.

THREAT LINGERS. An "Area Closed" sign appears on temporary security fencing outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, September 13, 2021, as security increases ahead of the planned September 18 rally in support of the January 6 insurrectionists on Capitol Hill. AFP
In a statement, the embassy stressed the Japanese government has issued a warning to all its citizens situated in Southeast Asia, but it declined to divulge the source of information.

“We confirm that the Japanese government has received information about a possible terror attack, but we cannot give you any detailed background at the moment,” the Japanese Embassy said.

The Philippine Department of Defense is working to validate reports of possible terror threats in the country after Japan’s travel warning.

"As with all reports concerning the safety and security of our communities, the aforementioned advisory will be subjected to the process of validation," DND spokesman Arsenio Andolong said in a statement.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, through DFA Assistant Secretary for Public and Cultural Diplomacy Eduardo Meñez, said they has not been officially informed about the warning issued by Tokyo.

“Travel alerts for a country’s citizens are usually not officially notified to other countries, however, this type of information may have been shared among intelligence agencies,” Meñez said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines also said they have not received any report related to the Japanese alert warning, adding that they are constantly validating all reports on security matters in a “continuous process”.

“As per last review our threat level is moderate,” AFP Spokesman Col. Ramon Zagala said in a statement sent to reporters.

Zagala said the military "take[s] seriously all received reports that pertains to security matters, especially on terrorism."

The DND also said it has been on constant "heightened alert" for terrorist activities since the 2017 Marawi siege.

For his part, Philippine National Police Chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar said they have not received any report on possible terrorist attacks.

“We have not received any report of possible terror attacks as advised by the Japan Foreign Ministry, but this does not mean we would lower our guard in this matter,” Eleazar said in a video message.

On Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan informed its citizens in six Southeast Asian nations to stay away from religious facilities and crowded places due to the threats of a possible attack.

The Japan government exhorted its citizens to stay away from religious facilities and crowds in six Southeast Asian nations due to “increased risks such as suicide bombings.”

The warning applies to Japanese citizens who are currently in Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar.

"We ensure that all citizens, Filipinos or not, as long as they are within our territory, are protected and kept safe from terrorists' threats. This is also to underscore the importance of the active participation of the populace in defeating terrorism since security is, after all, everyone's concern," Zagala added.

Eleazar said the PNP has been continuing its intelligence monitoring and has intensified its coordination with other countries for information sharing and partnership against terrorism.

He assured the public that they are working with communities and other sectors to prevent plans of terror attacks in the country.

Topics: Embassy of Japan in the Philippines , Terrorism , Guillermo Eleazar , Eduardo Meñez , Philippine Department of Defense

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