(AHEAD OF APEC SUMMIT) FVR urges AFP, PNP to ramp up intel ops vs Abus PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 November 2015 11:53

Former Philippine president Fidel V. Ramos on Sunday called on the country’s armed forces and police to intensify intelligence operations on the al-qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf for possible terror plot meant to disrupt the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting scheduled in Manila on Wednesday and Thursday.

Ramos, a former military general and defense secretary, said in an interview over DZMM radio and ABS-CBN news that the Abu Sayyaf had already shown its capability of  staging a terror attack in the capital when it attacked a passenger bus in Makati City in 2011 that killed several people.

Ramos said intensifying intelligence operations by the military and police could preempt any possible plot by the local militant group that is largely operating in southern Philippines, where it has staged bomb attacks and kidnappings.

The former president ruled any possibility of a threat from an international terrorist group to sow terror during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting similar to the terror attacks in Paris on Saturday that killed at least 129 people .

Asked by the radio-television host Julius Babao during a morning program on DZMM/Channel 2 on the possible threat by foreign terrorist group during the 2015 APEC Leaders’ Conference in Manila on Nov. 18-19, Ramos said there is none coming from outside the country.

“This is based on the information I got from the media and Wikipedia since I’m no longer in government,” he added.

However he said authorities should keep tabs on the Abu Sayyaf for any plot to disrupt the world event in Manila, that will be attended by heads of state including US President Barack Obama and China’s Xi Jinping.

Military spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla Jr. said that although the armed forces had monitored no security threat so far, the AFP and the PNP are taking no chances to ensure the safety of the heads of state and some 7,000 dignitaries attending the APEC Summit.

Aside from Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto, Chile President Michelle Bachelet, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are attending the summit, the second to be held in the Philippines since 1996.

Tight security measures during the summit include the closure of several major streets in Metro Manila, rerouting of traffic, mandatory closure of windows of high-rise buildings and hotels along the routes where heads of state would pass by going to the conference venue at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

Ramos, a Korean war veteran. expressed fear that the terror attack in Paris, France could be the start of a seething Third World War.

Ramos observed that the Paris series of attacks  is among the factors that have sparked earlier wars, which also included international  military build-up, mass migration, and attempted assassinations of world leaders.

Ramos also warned that the massacre in France, a military advanced country compared to the Philippines, proves that Filipinos are not safe from similar threats.

“It could happen anywhere else nearer to the Philippines, maybe in Asia-Pacific and it will affect our country,”he noted during the interview.