WATCH | Palace allays fear over U.S. terror threat warning in Palawan

May 11, 2017 - 2:17 PM
Philstar file photo of a tourist area in Coron, Palawan

MANILA, Philippines – After the U.S. embassy in Manila warned that terrorists are plotting kidnappings in Palawan, Malacañang on Thursday allayed the public’s fear of any serious threat, saying the government was in control of the situation.

“Public safety is everyone’s concern. We assure everyone that the government is on top of the situation and authorities, particularly those in the Western Command (WESCOM) which covers the province of Palawan, are on heightened alert to prevent any untoward incidents,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

On Tuesday, May 9, the U.S. embassy advised its citizens against traveling to Palawan, including Puerto Princesa City and the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park after receiving information that terrorist groups might be “planning to conduct kidnapping operations targeting foreign nationals” in said areas.

On Thursday, May 11, Abella said WESCOM, the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police, the Palawan provincial government, and the Puerto Princesa city government were already “in close coordination in enforcing law and order.”

“All units and assets are being utilized to ensure maximum security to deny any terrorist group’s entry and access in the high seas and coastal areas,” Abella said.

“We urge everyone’s cooperation, including residents and tourists, to be mindful and immediately report to law enforcement units any questionable individual or activity in the areas,” he added.

‘Shoot them on sight’

On Wednesday, May 10, before going to Cambodia to attend the World Economic Forum, President Rodrigo Duterte said authorities had already “spruced up” Palawan and the “strength of the security forces” there.

He said he had ordered authorities to kill terrorists if they resist arrest and continue engaging in illegal acts in Palawan, one of the country’s top tourist destinations.

“My order to the security forces is stalk, shoot them on sight. Patayin ninyo [Kill them]. Do not waste your bullet tapos [then] we take care of them sa [in the] hospital. Expend your bullet to finish the problem because it is really a problem. It is a problem of security, law and order,” the President said.

Pag nag-engkwentro kayo, patayin mo na. Marami tayong Pilipino. Next year, madagdagan ‘to. Mga…125 million na tayo. We can always replenish the supply…Do not worry,” added Duterte.

[If you have an encounter with them, kill them. There are many Filipinos. Next year, our population will increase to 125 million. We can always replenish the supply…Do not worry.]