By: Genalyn Kabiling
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has not monitored so far any threat from the Maute terror group amid intensified security measures for the regional ministerial assembly in Manila this week, a top official said yesterday.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Oscar Albayalde, however, said they are keeping close tabs on certain groups, including some former Alex Boncayao Brigade members who have converted to the Islamic faith.
The ABB is widely perceived as the urban hit squad of the local communist group.
“With regards to the specific group na Maute, wala tayong nakukuha especially those coming from Mindanao, particularly in Marawi for that matter,” Albayalde said in a Palace news conference.
“Ang tinitingnan lang naman natin ngayon dito is ‘yung mga – as I’ve said earlier – ‘yung mga former members ng mga ABB na nag-Balik Islam. So ito ‘yung mga present dito sa NCR. But as of this time, wala naman tayong namo-monitor na movement nila that would probably disrupt this ASEAN meeting,” he added.
He said some ABB members apparently decided to join Islam “because they need to survive.” He said one of the main reasons for the “balik-Islam” move was for “money consideration.”
Around 13,000 uniformed personnel, meantime, would be deployed to secure the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ministerial meetings that will start on August 2 to 8 in Manila, according to Albayalde.
He said target hardening measures are also being conducted in “critical places.”