Calm down: DND allays public fears on Japan's terror alert

Published September 15, 2021, 7:40 AM

by Martin Sadongdong

The Department of National Defense (DND) called for calm Tuesday night, September 14, as it said it would validate the threat alert issued by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Philippines and five other Southeast Asian countries due to possible terrorist attacks.

(File photo by MANILA BULLETIN)

DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said the department “appreciates” and “takes cognizance” of the recent terrorism advisory issued by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to its citizens who are residing in the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar.

“As with all reports concerning the safety and security of our communities, the aforementioned advisory will be subjected to the process of validation,” he said.

The DND and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have been on a constant state of heightened alert for terrorist activities since the Marawi City siege in 2017, according to Andolong.

The DND and AFP have also been working closely with other concerned agencies such as the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) to continuously monitor and assess terror threats within the country’s borders all year round, he added.

Prior to this, the AFP said they have not yet received the threat alert from Japan although they would work with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to validate the information.

The Japanese Embassy in the Philippines has confirmed that their government issued a threat alert against terrorism to their citizens living in the six Southeast Asian countries.

There are little to no details of the potential terror activity monitored by Japan although it warned its citizens to stay away from religious facilities and other crowded areas due to the possibility of “increased risks” of terror attacks “such as suicide bombings.”

The threat alert was met with utmost concern on social media, with the hashtags “Stay safe everyone” and “Japan” on the trending list as of Wednesday morning, September 15.

One netizen tweeted: “[A]s much as possible avoid going out, and if [it’s] necessary, avoid crowded places. [It’s] not yet confirmed but [it’s] better be safe than sorry right? [A]lso pray too, prayers are powerful. [S]tay safe everyone!”

Another one urged the public to pray and stop making jokes about the security concern.

“The least thing we all can do is to keep updated about the news. Also [please] stop making jokes about it and step aside your jokes [because] this is a very serious matter. If you feel anxious, [please] take a deep breath. Stay safe everyone!”