“That’s part of their alert notice to their citizens. Very recently, they made a travel alert also. Again, this part of their being prudent as someone who would like to protect their citizens here,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said at a press briefing.
In an advisory, the US State Department cited the growing terrorist groups particularly in Mindanao that are targeting foreigners.
The report also classified the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed branch, the New People’s Army (NPA), as terrorist groups.
Lacierda said although the notorious Abu Sayyaf bandit group still exists, its numbers have been “effectively decimated” by the military.
“We are aware of the presence of Abu Sayyaf. It is not a secret but the Abu Sayyaf is more or less a bandit group already. Our Armed Forces have effectively decimated their numbers,” he said.
“They have been reduced to a kidnap-for-ransom group and that’s the status right now, and we continue to pursue lawless elements in the country,” Lacierda added.
Lacierda, however, refused to comment on the US State Department’s classification of the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group.
“Well, it’s not for us to say ‘do we agree or not’. That’s how they would like to classify the CPP-NPA,” he said. — Patricia Denise Chiu/KBK, GMA News