The Japanese foreign ministry urged its citizens in six countries, including the Philippines, to stay away from religious sites and crowds due to a possible terrorist attack.
The ministry reportedly issued the alert warning to Japanese Embassies in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar, on Monday, Sept. 13.
“There is information that there is an increasing possibility that suicide bomb attacks will occur in places where many people gather, such as places of worship,” read the translated statement posted on the website of the Japanese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
“We ask all Japanese residents to remain vigilant against terrorism attacks.”
The ministry also asked its citizens to avoid visiting places that are possible targets including “Western-owned” facilities like restaurants, hotels, public transportation, markets, tourist spots and other areas that attract large crowds like places of worship.
When asked by the Associated Press, the ministry refused to reveal its source of information or if it had been shared with other countries.
Amid the warning by the Japanese foreign ministry, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Tuesday, Sept. 14, that it is taking seriously the information on possible terror threats.
“As of now, we have not received any report. We constantly validate all reports on security matters and it is a continuous process. As per last review, our threat level is moderate,” said AFP spokesperson Col. Ramon Zagala in a statement.
He added, “We ensure that all citizens, Filipinos or not, as long as they are within our territory, are protected and kept safe from terrorists’ threats. This is also to underscore the importance of the active participation of the populace in defeating terrorism since security is, after all, everyone’s concern.”
Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said in a video statement that the PNP has not received any report of possible terror attacks that is linked to the warning by the Japan foreign ministry.
“However, this does not mean we will lower our guard on this matter. Our intelligence monitoring is stronger than ever, especially after the 9/11 attacks in the United States and the Marawi siege,” Eleazar said.
He added, “We continue to work with other countries against terrorism through information sharing and partnership in dealing with terrorists.”
Banner photo (right) by Michael Varcas/The Philippine STAR