Manila wary of lone wolf attacks after twin US shootings
Following shooting attacks that killed scores of people in Texas and New York in the United States, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has ordered the city police to see to it that its security measures are fool-proof to ensure the safety of the visiting heads of states attending the upcoming Asean Summit.
Estrada, citing the warning recently aired by Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla, also called on the Manila Police District to be wary of possible sympathetic attacks by individuals or groups still loyal to the defeated Maute-ISIS terrorists in Marawi.
“So far there are no security threats—no actual, direct or imminent threats. But there are intelligence reports that we are closely watching—the possibility of lone wolf attacks,” Estrada warned, quoting MPD director Chief Supt. Joel Coronel.
“We are not being overly suspicious,” Estrada insisted, “but we should listen to the AFP’s advice to be more vigilant and more observant of our surroundings.”
Coronel admitted that such lone wolf attacks, similar to the one carried out by the Uzbekistan-born suspect in the New York terror incident and the lone gunman that went on a shooting spree at a Baptist church in Texas, are possible
“Sympathetic attacks from Marawi, because of the Marawi crisis…. that is a possibility, this is one of the repercussions like what happened in the United States recently… to express sympathy or express support to the Maute Group. We are watching this,” Coronel said.
To protect the City of Manila, he said they have asked the help of the local Muslim communities.
“We are working closely with our Muslim communities through their elders. They are cooperating with us, in fact, helping us in securing the Muslim areas. Hopefully, we will not be infiltrated by the Jihadists or extremists. We are counting on their help, their vigilance in the community,” Coronel added.
As part of preparations for the ASEAN Summit, Coronel announced they will start fielding 2,700 police personnel starting November 5.
They will be part of the 23,000 policemen and soldiers that will compose the ASEAN Security Task Force under the operational control of Director Napoleon Taas.
With this commitment of 2,700 policemen to the ASTF, Coronel said the MPD is left with around 1,400 policemen to protect the city.
“There will be a lot of security convoys. Closures and rerouting will start on November 13 and 14,” he said as he called on the public to stay away from the venues of the ASEAN Summit as far away as possible to avoid inconvenience.
These include the CCP Complex, SM MOA Arena and in Manila, hotels where the foreign delegates and VIPs will be billeted such as Manila Hotel, Manila Diamond Hotel, New World Manila Bay, Pan Pacific, and Century Park Sheraton.
“Since November 13, 14 and 15 are holidays, we recommend that Metro Manila residents visit other places outside of Metro Manila for vacation. That’s our advice,” Coronel said.