By Ben Rosario
Lawmakers were assured on Tuesday that Metro Manila remains safe from terrorists, notwithstanding intelligence reports indicating the presence in the metropolis of relatives and supporters of the Maute group, an IS-backed but locally-bred terrorists that recently laid siege to Marawi City.
The Philippine National Police-National Capital Regional Police Office (PNP-NCRPO) gave the assurance to the House Committee on Metro Manila Development during a hearing presided over by Rep. Winston Castelo (PDP-Laban, Quezon City).
Director Oscar Albayalde, NCRPO director, said security plans for Metro Manila during the Christmas season are now being carried out and that possible Maute terror activities are being addressed.
Albayalde said relatives and supporters of Maute rebels may be in Metro Manila but any threat they pose have been considered by the police.
“So how safe is Metro Manila in the light of that information?” Castelo asked.
Albayalde said arrests of suspected Maute backers have been made and that intelligence operations are in high gear to determine if remnants are in Metro Manila.
“It (Metro Manila) is still safe because of number one, our usual cooperation with the other intelligence units. We were able to arrest supporters of Maute, we were able to arrest suspected ASG during the ASEAN in Culiat, Quezon City. So this indicates meron naman talagang… we cannot deny anymore,” said Albayalde.
The PNP official also assured solons that more security personnel will be deployed during the Christmas season while increased intelligence activities will be in operation to address any security threat.
Pressed by Castelo to confirm if some Maute relatives are indeed in Metro Manila, Albayalde replied in the affirmative.