Puerto Princesa City, Philippines — The security around the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park was increased on Wednesday following a U.S. warning that extremist groups could be planning to abduct foreigners in one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.
The United States Embassy on Tuesday released a statement saying that it had received a “credible information” that a certain group of terrorists may be targeting tourist spots in Palawan province, which include Puerto Princesa City and the Subterranean River.
The military contrasted a kidnapping raid by the Abu Sayyaf in Bohol following a US Embassy warning earlier in April of such a plan by the freedom fighters in the province and Cebu.
Meawhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday said it is verriying the US Embassy’s “credible information” that terrorist group are planning to hostage foreigners in Palawan province.
“The PNP is validating all information,” PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Dionardo Carlos said. Carlos guaranteed that the PNP will “take necessary precautionary and security measures” should the information is verified.
Carlos added that the PNP are coordinate with different foreign embassies, through the agency’s foreign liaison division, if the PNP receive any reports of a credible threat from intelligence units. The foreign embassies of United Kingdom and Canada relayed the U.S Embassy’s travel advisory to its nationals.
PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa had previously confirmed that the United States Embassy’s April 9 advisory, where it cautioned its nationals against pushing through with their planned vacation trips to Central Visayas, most specifically in Bohol and Cebu, due to threats of abducting foreigners by a Abu Sayyaf group.
A couple of days after the US Embassy released the travel warning, a group led by Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Muammar Askali slipped into Bohol province. The bandits’ presence was immediately noticed by the local PNP and military forces. Askali and a several members of his group were annihilated by the military in separate encounters.
The military forces said that its troops are hunting down two more Abu Sayyaf members in Bohol.
The Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte did not confirm or contradict the terrorist threat when he was asked give comment on the US travel advisory prior to his flight to Cambodia on Wednesday.
Instead, President Duterte said he had ordered security forces combating the Abu Sayyaf terror group to “shoot them on sight.”
“Do not waste your bullets [then] you take care of them in hospital,” Duterte said. “Expend your bullets to finish the problem because it is really a problem. It is a problem of security, law and order.”