MANILA – Malacanang has assured the public that authorities are in control of the situation after a confirmed improvised explosive device (IED) was found and defused near the United States Embassy in Manila Monday morning.
”We assure the public that this incident should not be a cause for alarm. Business and work continue as normal,” Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar said in a press statement.
Andanar said the Philippine National Police (PNP) is on top of the situation and has beefed up security measures in public places, “especially where there are big crowds.”
”To ensure public safety in airports, seaports, bus and mass transport terminals, concerned transport agencies are instructed to increase the visibility and presence of uniformed personnel and heighten the screening of persons and luggage as part of our security vigilance,” Andanar said.
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella downplayed suspicion that the discovery of the IED and the movement of the Maute Group “may be laying a foundation for the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.”
He said the opposition lawmakers are “reading too much into the situation.”
”The suspicious circumstances are already being investigated by government security forces,” Abella added.
According to reports, the police bomb squad had safely defused the improvised bomb found at the southbound lane of Roxas Boulevard near the US Embassy.
The discovery of the improvised bomb happened three days after the Maute terror group reportedly occupied an abandoned portion of Butig town in Lanao del Sur last Saturday morning.
This prompted the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to immediately conduct military operations, resulting in the killing of 11 members of the Maute group last Saturday.
Andanar said last Sunday that the AFP will continue to frustrate the sinister objectives of the Maute Group which has long been professing allegiance to international terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or ISIS.
Maute Group is allegedly behind the deadly bombing in Davao City last Sept. 2. JELLY MUSICO/PNA-northboundasia.com