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PIA Press Release

Metro, Mindanao alerts up as military gears for more attacks

Quezon City (12 October) -- THE MILITARY is bracing for more terrorist attacks as it maintains the highest terror alert in Mindanao and the third highest in Metro Manila, the Chief of Staff, General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said.

Alert level 4 or "critical," the highest in the new terror warning system, remains over Mindanao while alert level 2 or "moderate" is up in Metro Manila, Esperon said.

"We have retained the alert level in Mindanao [and Metro Manila] for the possibility of terror attacks," Esperon told reporters in a chance interview at the Wackwack golf club in Mandaluyong City.

Esperon said the "critical" alert was raised even before the bombings occurred in the cities of Cotabato and Tacurong and Makilala town in North Cotabato province where at least six people were killed and over two dozen others were wounded.

Mindanao had been placed on alert level 3 or "high" and Metro Manila, on alert level 2, ahead of the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Esperon said the highest terror alert was raised when a known terrorist group had "the intent and capability" to launch attacks.

"In Mindanao, we have known groups who have expressed intent to conduct terrorist activities. The Abu Sayyaf and the Jemaah Islamiyah, we know that they have the capability and therefore we have put up the extreme critical alert level," he said.

When under the highest terror alert, Esperon said troops in the area would conduct stricter inspection at checkpoints and intensify intelligence gathering.

A "moderate" alert level means that there are reports of possible terror attacks, but authorities have not identified specific groups or whether they are capable of launching attacks, Esperon said. (PIA) [top]

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