Church official: Manaoag basilica taking military info ‘very seriously’

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 10 2019 11:42 PM | Updated as of Aug 11 2019 04:45 PM

An official of the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary said the church has sat down with authorities to see what steps need to be taken to make the place safe. ABS-CBN News

MANILA—A church in Manaoag town, Pangasinan, purportedly considered a target by terrorists is taking such a report "very seriously," one of its officials said on Saturday.

Fr. Anthony Eudela, prior of the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, said the church has sat down with authorities to see what steps need to be taken to make the place and the entire town safe.

"We took that information very seriously. We have to heighten the security measures we have," Eudela told DZMM radio.

"After we have received the information, nag-meeting kami agad with the (local government unit), the PNP (Philippine National Police), regional command, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines kasi may kampo rin dito na malapit sa basilica.

"We joined forces and came up with some plans to tighten our security not only in the basilica but the whole town of Manaoag."

Eudela said that since the Jolo Cathedral bombings in January, government troops have been deployed in the Manaoag basilica area, a popular pilgrimage site.

He added that the atmosphere at the basilica is calm, and there is no cause for alarm yet.

The alert came nearly 7 months since the suicide attack at the Jolo Cathedral on Jan. 27. The twin blasts, carried out by Indonesian suicide bombers with the aid of the Abu Sayyaf Group, left 22 people dead, including state troops, and more than a hundred hurt.