LAOAG CITY — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has advised the public to stay vigilant and avoid panic over an alert memo regarding an alleged “threat” targeting heritage churches in Northern Luzon.
On Sunday, several mass goers at the St. William Cathedral in Laoag decided not to go to church because of an alleged leaked information on possible terror attack targeting ‘crusader cities’ with business centers covering northern Philippines, such as Laoag City in Ilocos Norte, Vigan City in Ilocos Sur, Manaoag in Pangasinan and Tuguegarao City in Cagayan province.
The said alert memo, purportedly coming from the Office of the Assistant Chief of the Unified Command Staff for Intelligence based in Camp General Servillano A. Aquino in San Miguel, Tarlac City, has circulated on social media over the weekend.
When reached for comment, Lt. Col. Amador Quiocho, acting Laoag City police chief, said they are still validating the truthfulness of the information.
“The information is being validated and we must stay vigilant rather than being complacent,” said Quiocho. Father Carlito “Joey” Ranjo Jr., spokesperson of the Diocese of Laoag, said in an interview Monday that officials of different churches being frequented by visitors in Laoag, Batac, Paoay and Badoc are alerted to monitor any suspicious activity in the area.
“There’s no reason to panic but we have already coordinated with the PNP to know proper security protocol over a terror threat,” said Ranjo as he urged the public, regardless of religion to pray for the safety of everyone.
As a precautionary measure, local authorities here have increased police visibility in churches and other public areas.
The PNP has also advised the public to immediately report to concerned authorities should they encounter any suspicious activity in areas of concern. Leilanie Adriano / PNA – northboundasia.com