MANILA, May 2, 2011 (AFP) – Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Monday ordered stepped up security around the country following the killing of Osama bin Laden, while hailing his death as a triumph over terrorism.
“The death of Osama bin Laden marks a signal defeat for the forces of extremism and terrorism,” Aquino said in a statement.
“It represents the death of the efforts of one man to stoke the fires of sectarian hatred and to promote terrorism on a scale unprecedented in the history of mass murder.”
The US military action that led to the death of the Al-Qaeda leader at his safehouse in Pakistan also brought justice to more than a dozen Filipinos who were among those slain in the September 11, 2001 attacks, Aquino said.
Shortly after US President Barack Obama made the dramatic announcement Monday, Aquino met with his national security advisers and ordered stepped up protection for foreign embassies in Manila, his spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.
“We are currently at full alert,” Lacierda told reporters.
“The PNP (national police) has increased patrols over diplomatic areas and we are making sure that (security at) other areas of convergence are protected and enhanced.”
The Philippines is a major non-NATO ally of the United States, and American troops have been deployed in its southern Mindanao region since 2001 to help the Filipino army defeat Islamic militant group the Abu Sayyaf.
Founded in the 1990s with funds from bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda, the Abu Sayyaf is responsible for the country’s worst terrorist attacks, including a ferry bombing that killed more than 100 in 2004.
The group is also wanted for the kidnapping of three Americans in 2001, two of whom died while in captivity.