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08/23/2019 Philippines (International Christian Concern) – Despite a reduced risk of terrorist threat issued earlier against a Catholic shrine in the northern Philippines, security forces continue to guard the place of worship.

As of Aug. 20, police officers, soldiers, and K-9 dogs were still stationed at the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Manaoag, in Pangasinan province, although the alert status has returned to “normal.”

According to UCA News, Col. Redrico Maranan of the police provincial office said in a radio interview that authorities only want to ensure order and peace inside the church. The presence of soldiers and policemen “should give a sense of security to churchgoers,” he added.

Earlier in the month, the Philippine authorities had placed the church, a popular pilgrimage site, under tight security following the leak of a military memorandum concerning an alleged threat by Islamic State-linked terrorists in several areas in northern Luzon, which noted that a “crusader city” with business centers and “crusader churches” in northern Luzon were targeted.

Maranan said the alert level status of the church was lowered to normal on August 13. The Manaoag Police Station also said it was generally peaceful in the area and the number of churchgoers did not decrease.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator:[email protected].