PH calls for stronger int’l cooperation against terrorism

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The Philippine government on Thursday, November 2, called on the international community to intensify its cooperation against terrorism, particularly against the militant Islamic State (IS) group and its affiliate organizations.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano made the call days after the recent attack in New York that left 8 people dead and at least 11 others injured.

“The terrorist attacks in New York and other places abroad during the past several weeks tell us the threat remains real,” Cayetano said in a statement.

On Tuesday, October 31, a man rammed a pickup truck through several blocks of Lower Manhattan before crashing into a school bus—which U.S. authorities called an “act of terror.”

The suspect, identified as 29-year-old Uzbekistan native Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov who was living in New Jersey, reportedly told investigators that he executed the attack in the name of the IS terrorist group.

The Philippines recently suffered from the presence of the Islamic State when its followers, the Maute terrorist group, laid siege to Marawi City, located at the southern part of the country, for five months.

Cayetano thanked United States, Australia, China, Russia and other countries for extending their assistance to the Philippines in its operations to liberate Marawi from terrorists.

He said the government is looking forward to cooperating with other countries in countering terrorism, saying it is a key priority of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The Philippines is more than ready to do its share in helping make the world a safer place,” Cayetano said.

He added that the fight against terrorism will also be among the issues to be discussed at the upcoming Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and related meetings in Manila this November.

The attack in Marawi City, which began on May 23, has been considered as the worst urban conflict the country has seen since the second World War. The death toll breached more than 1,000, of which more than 800 were terrorists.

On October 23, the government announced the Marawi conflict over and has begun laying down plans to rebuild the country’s only Islamic city.

With Maute group defeated in Mindanao, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it is verifying reports that members of  terrorist group were in Manila.

In a statement, PNP Deputy Spokesperson Supt. Vimelle Madrid assured the public that police force is implementing stricter security measures by increasing police visibility and checkpoints.

“Pinapaigting natin lagi ang checkpoints natin. ‘Yan naman ang mandate natin, to provide security and protection to the public. (We are intensifying our checkpoints. To provide security and protection to the public has been always our mandate),” Madrid said.

“Pero wala pa namang (But there are no) clear or confirmed reports regarding presence of the Maute in the area. Continuous naman ang monitoring natin,” he added.





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