PNP-AFP intel monitoring strengthened amid Iran-US tensions

Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are strengthening their intelligence operation, particularly on terrorist groups in the country who may sympathize with Iraq following the killing of its top general during a US strike on January 3, 2020.

On Sunday, President Rodrigo Duterte met with the security cluster to discuss the possible effects in the Philippines, most especially to those working in the Middle East, of the arising tension between Iran and the United States (US) after the US launched a strike in Baghdad international airport that killed Qassem Soleimani.

AFP newly appointed chief of staff Lieutenant General Felimon Santos said they are yet to monitor any imminent threat directly connected to the conflict.

“We presented our action taken. Number one is of course our monitoring with our defense attache present sa nearby countries,” Santos said.

“Number two is to monitor, intensify our intelligence monitoring on the groups, the local terrorist groups na nasa atin that might express sympathy to the Iranian. As of now, wala pa namang affiliated sa Iran,” he added.

PNP officer-in-charge Lieutenant General Archie Gamboa said they are profiling sympathizers and possible threats who may take advantage of the situation.

“There are also security concerns kasi siyempre, merong sympathetic either by race or by ideology. So the PNP is profiling possible threats, possible groups who may take advantage or who might symphatize,” he said.

“Our intelligence monitoring would be continuous up until medyo luminaw na 'yung problema doon sa Middle East,” he added.

Santos said Duterte is particular in providing assistance to the overseas Filipino workers who might get caught in the arising tension.

“He directed us to prepare and be ready to deploy our assets anytime to evacuate our countrymen in the area,” Santos said.

He said they have readied their air assets should they need to be deployed to Iran for the evacuation of the Filipinos there. (SunStar Philippines)