AFP: Remain vigilant, cooperate amid terror alert in PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Spokesperson B/Gen. Restituto Padilla called for the public to remain vigilant and cooperate with the authorities, after the Philippine National Police announced that Terror Alert Level 3 is up nationwide.

"Security is a shared responsibility. It is not something that is placed on your police and military. For every community to remain secure, it must be a shared task of every citizen," he said on Friday.

Padilla called for the cooperation of the public to help the authorities create a safer Philippines.

"Paano ito gagampanan ng bawat mamamayan? 'Yan po ay magagampanan nila sa pamamagitan ng pagiging mapagmasid, pagiging alerto, pagiging vigilant at laging conscious po sa mga lugar na kinaroroonan niyo," he said on Friday.

[Translation: How can the citizens do this? They can help by being vigilant, alert, and conscious of their surroundings.]

He also echoed the assurance of the government and the police that there is no reason to worry about the terror alert.

"On the part of AFP, we would like to assure the public that everyone is closely following the security situation in the metropolis and there is no reason to be alarmed," he said.

Different terror alerts

The terror threat posed by the foiled bombing near the U.S. Embassy has been resolved, thus there is no need to raise a terror alarm nationwide, Padilla said.

The AFP maintained Metro Manila is under "normal conditions" because the threat of IED explosion has already been addressed.

"Action is concretely being taken — that warrants no increase of any alert level," Padilla said.

The AFP follows a simple system: white alert for normal conditions; blue alert for potential contingencies, which demands 50 percent deployment of officers; and red alert or the call on all AFP personnel to return to camp to prepare for possible contingency.

"We do not subscribe to the terror alert that was recently announced," he said referring to the terror alert raised by Philippine National Police on Thursday.

PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa announced Terror Alert Level 3 — the highest alert — is up in the Philippines following the foiled bombing near the U.S. Embassy. The PNP based it on the alert issued by the Anti-Terrorism Council, Padilla said.

Dela Rosa said on Thursday the public can expect more stringent checkpoints, random "Oplan Sita" meaning, random and unannounced searches on motorists, and raids on the hideouts of suspected terrorists.

The PNP Chief also debunked that the Terror Alert Level 3 is a prelude to a declaration of martial law.

"Wala kaming balak mag-declare ng martial law. Wala akong sinasabi, hindi ko inuudyukan si Presidente na mag-declare ng martial law. Malayo yan sa isipan namin," he said.

Padilla said the task to protect the public largely falls on the police, but they are offering their personnel to help the PNP.

"The primary responsibility for securing our cities is in the hands of the police personnel. They are tasked to lead in all major cities. The Armed Forces only provides support," he said.

AFP Joint Task Force-National Capital Region is prepared to provide any assistance or personnel beef-up to the police, Padilla said.