MANILA, Philippines – Fears of retaliatory attacks by followers of Osama bin Laden in the Philippines could be used as reason for the return of US military bases in the country, a Catholic bishop has warned.
“That’s possible… that can be an entry point for them to really do what they think concerning US presence here in the Philippines,” said Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad over Catholic Church-run Radyo Veritas Friday.
The prelate said he is against any plant to reestablish US military presence in Subic Bay saying it is likely to cause more problems than the perceived benefits.
Jumoad appealed to the US and the Aquino governments not to use the death of Osama bin Laden and the feared terror attacks for the return of the US military installations in the Philippines.
“They should not make that as an excuse in order to reestablish the US (military) presence here in our country,” he said.
But the church official lauded the security measures being imposed by local authorities in Basilan, where the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants are based.
Authorities earlier predicted a heightened risk particularly in Mindanao and called for extra vigilance in case sympathizers sought revenge for the killing of bin Laden.
The bandits are blamed for the country’s worst terrorist attacks, including the bombing of a passenger ferry in Manila Bay that claimed over 100 lives in 2004.
Authorities said the Abu Sayyaf was also behind a string of high profile abductions targeting foreign and local tourists, businessmen and missionaries in Mindanao. (CBCPNews)