ISIS threatens Duterte hometown
DAVAO CITY – Authorities have tightened security in Davao City – hometown of popular Filipino leader Rodrigo Duterte – following intelligence reports that the Islamic State may launch terror attacks here.
Acting mayor Paolo Duterte, the president’s son, ordered police and military to stay alert and tightened security in all entry points to Davao City.
He said authorities were trying to verify the reports, but just the same urged locals to be vigilant and report to the police and military any suspicious persons or baggage left unattended in public places.
The threats came following a recent ISIS attack on a night club in Puchong, Selangor in Malaysia just outside the capital Kuala Lumpur that wounded at least 8 people; and a suicide attack on a police station in central Java in Indonesia that injured an officer.
ISIS has also threatened the Philippines and in one of its latest propaganda called for jihadists around the world to go the largely Catholic country and wage holy war. The heightened security in Davao also coincided with on-going military operations in Basilan and Sulu provinces which are part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Army Major Ezra Balagtey, a spokesman for the Eastern Mindanao Command based in Davao City, said they have intensified support to law enforcement and strengthened anti-terrorism operations. He said the General Rey Leonardo Guerrero, the regional military chief, has directed army commanders to coordinate police closely authorities with and the intensify intelligence gathering and to conduct anti-terrorism and counter-terrorism activities not only in Davao, but the whole region.
Just recently, suspected jihadists ambushed a military convoy in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur, also in the Muslim autonomous region, and killed an army soldier and wounded three more.
The convoy of the 65th Infantry Battalion and 51st Mechanized Company was heading back to 103rd Infantry Brigade headquarters when about a dozen gunmen detonated a roadside bomb and then opened fire with automatic weapons on their target.
No individual or group claimed responsibility for the daring attack, but previous assaults on the military had been largely blamed to an extremist group headed by Abdullah Maute, although copycat attacks, mostly launched by armed civilians opposing the presence of troops in the province, are widespread in the region.
President Rodrigo Duterte(photo by Michael Rey Baniquet)