Terrorism seems to strike every country in the world to some extent these days. Thanks to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and a tip, an attempted bombing of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) was thwarted before dawn on September 1st, 2014. According to state run Philippine News Agency, four suspects were arrested while in a white Toyota Revo assembling the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in parking area B at NAIA terminal 3. The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) reported that the suspects were apprehending around 1:45am on September 1st, before they were able to follow through with their planed attack.
Aside from the 6-8 improvised explosive devices, the NBI also seized multiple firearms from the bombing suspects. The MIAA assured the public that all terminals at the airport remain safe and issued the following statement to reporters, “Airport security personnel continue to stay vigilant in their respective areas,” MIAA said. The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has also issued a heightened alert level at all airport throughout the country, which requires 50 percent of all security personnel to be at their post at all times during the heightened alert level.
Terrorist groups in the southern part of the country have been fighting with the Philippine government and amongst themselves for some time in an effort to establish an independent Muslim homeland on the southern island of Mindanao. The Philippines is a predominately catholic country and despite government efforts to establish treaties with these groups, fighting continues to bring fear to those in the area, as well as Manila. Much of the fighting is contained in the areas the groups want to take as their independent homeland, but recently there have been increasing terrorist activities in the capital city of Manila, with grenades being detonated in some areas of the city, bomb threats to public transportation such as buses and the Metro and Light Rail Systems, and assassinations and attempted assassinations.
There was a major string of bombings in 2011, and more recently bombs and grenade explosions spread out throughout the city. A bomb attempt in February was thwarted in Surigao city on a bus headed for Manila, thanks to the one of the passengers alerting the bus operator. The bomb was quickly defused by experts after the driver of the bus heeded passenger alerts of heavy smoking coming from the luggage area of the bus.
Many countries have also issued travel alerts to their citizens, asking that people traveling to the Philippines, especially the Muslim areas of the southern island of Mindanao which consists of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi Tawi, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao, stay vigilant due to terrorism and kidnapping threats in the region. Maguindanao is the location of the Maguindanao Massacre in 2009, where 58 victims were brutally slaughtered. At least 34 of the murder victims were journalist. The Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) has called the Maguindanao Massacre the single deadliest event for journalist in history.
At the current time, the names of the NAIA bombing suspects have not been released as the investigation continues.