AFP taking measures to counter possible ISIS threats to upcoming Miss Universe Pageant

MANILA, August 12, 2016 -- While it is still trying to verify the authenticity of the ISIS video threatening to sabotage the upcoming Miss Universe Pageant in the country next January, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Friday it is already taking measures to counter the threat.

"That notwithstanding, we are taking the threat seriously. As in any threats, whether verified or not, it behooves the AFP -- in coordination with the PNP and other counterpart agencies -- to take appropriate measures to counter the threats," AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo told the Philippines News Agency.

With this development, AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Ricardo Visaya is calling on all Filipino citizens to remain calm, he said.

"Threats that are intended to cause panic and chaos are the ends of terrorist groups like ISIS," Arevalo stressed.

The military official also reiterated that there are no ISIS cells in the country and instead what the Philippines has are groups claiming affiliation with the terrorist group in a bid to draw funds.

Arevalo also said it is not farfetched for ISIS to claim to have cells in the Philippines to show global membership.

"General Visaya nonetheless calls on our people to be vigilant, not only because of the threat, but more so because security is a concern for everybody not only of the security forces. (As the old adage goes), it's better to err at the side of caution," he added. (PNA)