THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is taking seriously threats supposedly coming from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to sabotage the Miss Universe pageant set in Manila next year.
“We are yet to establish the authenticity and, possibly, the source of the video that issued the threat,” said Col. Edgard Arevalo, AFP-Public Affairs chief.
“That notwithstanding, we are taking the threat seriously. As with any threats, whether verified or not, it behooves the AFP-- in coordination with the PNP and other counterpart agencies— to take appropriate measures to counter the threats,” he added.
At the same time, Arevalo said that AFP chief Gen. Ricardo Visaya is calling on the public to remain calm.
“The AFP chief of staff calls on our people to remain calm. Panic and chaos are the ends of terrorist groups like ISIS,” said Arevalo.
The military also maintained that there is no ISIS presence anywhere in the Philippines.
“We reiterate that there is no ISIS in the Philippines. What we have are groups claiming affiliations with ISIS in their bid to draw funds. It is not farfetched for ISIS to claim to have cells in the Philippines to show global membership,” said Arevalo.
“General Visaya nonetheless calls on our people to be vigilant, not only because of the threat, but more so because security is a concern for everybody, not only of the security forces,” he added.
Earlier, President Duterte said that in three to seven years, the country will be facing an ISIS problem if it does not address the indoctrination of Muslim-Filipinos in southern Philippines by radical-foreigners, including Arabs.