By Freddie Lazaro
VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur — Ilocos leaders and police officials are on heightened alert following the leaked terror attack threat in four places in Northern Luzon by the suspected members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The military is validating the plot contained in a memorandum by Marine Colonel Glenn Celebrado, Assistant Chief of Unified Command Staff for Intelligence of the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) dispatched on August 2 directing all intelligence operatives to heighten intelligence monitoring particularly in Laoag City, Vigan City, Manaoag, Pangasinan, and Tuguegarao City which were identified as targets of ISIS.
These cities are considered as “crusader cities,” a term used by ISIS in describing target areas to fuel what they call “Bandar Crusade” or war between Muslim and Christian, while “Crusader Churches” are the ISIS term for all historic Catholic Churches.
Celebrado directed intelligence operatives to be on red alert on August 11-12.
Vigan City Mayor Juan Carlo S. Medina and Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Luis V. Singson have allayed the fears of the residents and ordered the policemen and the army to do the necessary security measures to ensure the safety of residents in the province.
“We don’t need to be complacent but we need to be vigilant and resilient at all times to anticipate any terror attack in our city,” said Medina.
He urged everyone to help in safeguarding peace and order in the city as he advised them to report to authorities any new and suspicious-looking people in their villages.
Medina said they are not doing this because of a credible threat but to allay the fears of their constituents.
The mayor ordered the PNP to beef-up police presence in public places, government offices, and churches especially at night.
Ilocos Sur Governo Ryan Luis V. Singson ordered the police in the province to be on heightened alert.
Manaoag town Mayor Kim G. Amador of Pangasinan province urged residents to remain vigilant following reports of a terror threat on Manaoag Church.
Local authorities in the Manaoag, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte and Cagayan have increased police visibility in churches and other public areas.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) through the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will conduct an independent investigation on the alleged terrorist plot in Northern Luzon and Cagayan.