By Aaron Recuenco
The Department of National Defense (DND) allayed fears of terrorist attacks in the country following the issuance of a travel advisory by the Australian government, citing high threat of terror attack.
Director Arsenio Andolong, head of the DND Public Affairs Service, said the warning of the Australian government to its citizens is actually a reiteration of an advisory issued in May this year, or during the Marawi City clash.
“This should not be a cause for undue alarm since issuing regular travel advisories to citizens is commonly practiced by many countries, including Australia, especially in light of the spate of violent incidents that have been happening all over the world in recent times,” said Andolong.
He said that what Australia did is understandable since there could be one wolf attack in the light of the defeat of the Maute Group which has links to the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).
The Marawi siege, which started on May 23, ended on October 23 following the death of the Maute leaders and Isnilon Hapilon, the designated emir of the Southeast Asia caliphate being established by the ISIS.
“It was also mentioned by SND (Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana). Our concern after Marawi is the possibility of the threat from lone wolf, so that is a possibility,” said Andolong.
“Nevertheless, we enjoin everyone to remain vigilant and report to the proper authorities any suspicious activities in your area. Let us all be mindful of our surroundings and work closely with government security forces to ensure that terrorism and violent extremism do not take root in our villages, towns and cities,” said Andolong in a statement.
Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla, military spokesman, said he also verified the matter with the Australian embassy and was told that it was a reiteration of an earlier travel advisory.
“It was reissued in a more succinct manner and may have an update next week following the end of combat operations in Marawi,” said Padilla.
Security analysts said the death of Hapilon and the Maute brothers is not the end of terrorism in the country, saying this could lead to the rise of new leaders who could be more radical and violent.
Tags: Arsenio Andolong, Australia, Australian government, Department of National Defense, DND allays fears of terrorist attacks in PH despite Aussie travel advisory, Manila Bulletin, Marawi city, Marawi Siege, Maute Group, terrorist attacks, travel advisory