AFP exerting efforts to prevent repeat of Cotabato bomb attack

By Priam Nepomuceno

January 2, 2019, 11:51 am

MANILA -- Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal assured the public that security forces are doing everything they can to prevent a repeat of the blast in Cotabato City, which killed two people and wounded 34 others.

Madrigal made the remark in response to the travel warning issued by the United Kingdom, which cautioned its citizens against traveling to Mindanao.

"It's their prerogative to issue such (an) advisory, the AFP and PNP (Philippine National Police) are doing everything to prevent peace spoilers and terror groups to undertake their criminal activities," he said in a message to reporters Wednesday.

When asked if the AFP is taking such threats seriously, Madrigal said troops are advised to intensify their efforts against such security threats.

"Of course, we advise our troops to double their efforts to prevent these violent incidents from happening so that we can encourage foreign investments and tourism in Mindanao," he added.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, meanwhile, echoed Madrigal's remarks.

"No, we dont have indications that there will be other bombings. The British advisory is an automatic & default warning of governments to their nationals like we also do when these things happen in other countries. It is normal and ordinary. We hear about these advisories all the time," Lorenzana said in a message to reporters.

Earlier, UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised its citizens against all travel to western and central Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups.

The FCO also advised against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao (excluding Camiguin, Dinagat and Siargao Islands) and to the south of Cebu province, up to and including the municipalities of Dalaguete and Badian, due to the threat of terrorism.

"Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in the Philippines, including in Manila. Terrorist groups continue to plan attacks and have the capacity and the intent to carry out attacks anytime and anywhere in the country, including in places visited by foreigners, like airports, shopping malls, public transport, including the metro system, and places of worship. You should remain vigilant at all times and report anything suspicious to the local authorities," the UK FCO added. (PNA)