By Noreen Jazul
The Philippine National Police (PNP) is on full alert status in Mindanao, following two consecutive bombings in Sultan Kudarat and Sulu.
In an interview with CNN Philippines, PNP Spokesperson, Senior Supt. Bernard Banac said all police units in Mindanao “remain vigilant and alert to thwart any other attacks.”
Banac said authorities are in the process of investigation on who was responsible for the suicide bombing in Indanan, Sulu Sunday night.
” In Indanan, Sulu, the supposed bomber, we’re still identifying the nationality or the identification. Only one died, the person himself or herself. We’re not yet sure with the exact identification of the person,” he said.
The PNP spokesperson said they are not concluding that the Islamic State was behind the attack despite the group claiming responsibility for the bombing.
“We’re not taking it face value, they normally do that whenever there are bombing incidents caused by an IED (improvised explosive device) they come out and claim that they’re the ones who did it, and we need to base our conclusions on our investigations. We’re still conducting our investigations to determine who really did this,” Banac said.
“We have some suspects, usually, these are perpetrated by our local communist terrorist groups Abu Sayyaf, and some breakaway groups of the BIFF, so those are, these are suspects that we usually investigate on,” he added.
Banac, meanwhile, defended the effectiveness of martial law in Mindanao despite consecutive bombings in the area.
“The martial law has really helped us in terms of maintaining peace and order,” Banac said.
“We have brought down the number of crime incidents all over the island of Mindanao and we have prevented proliferation of firearms. So far as terrorism is concerned, this is really another factor that we really have to focus on, because terrorism is really a different kind of thing,” he said.
The PNP spokesperson added that more attacks or bombing incidents could have happened if there was no martial law in Mindanao.
“It is best that we maintain for now the martial law so that we can really bring down, or if not totally eliminate, incidents like this,” the PNP spokesperson said,
Banac also assured that there is no report of any threat of attacks or terrorist activities in Luzon and Visayas.
“For us living in Luzon and Visayas there is nothing to worry about, our security here being implemented by the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP is very high. These incidents, terrorist incidents are confined in the western part of Mindanao, and we are up to the task to prevent all these possible terrorist attacks so there’s nothing to worry [about]. We assure the public that we remain on full alert,” Banac said.
Read more: 7 wounded in Sultan Kudarat explosion