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(UPDATE, September 17, 6:23 p.m.) MANILA - The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday said it sees no imminent threat or massive backlash from the anti-Islam film "The Innocence of Muslims" in the country.
In Marawi, some 3,000 Muslims burned American and Israeli flags on Monday morning, protesting that very film. The protest in Banggolo, Marawi, faintly echoed violence spreading in the Middle East, but there was no indication that the outrage among Filipino Muslims will be expressed in any graver form than the flag-burning.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the largest Muslim rebel group in the country, on Sunday said it will not be provoked to attacking any American installations over the controversial, amateur film. MILF leaders said neither do they see the issue having any impact on its ongoing peace talks with the Philippine government.
Nevertheless, PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo Jr. said, police stepped up security in the embassies and residences of ambassadors, including that of the United States.
The PNP has intensified security measures to ensure the safety of diplomats in the country following deadly protests that erupted in Egypt, Yemen, and other Arab and Muslim nations. A deadly attack in Benghazi killed US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.
"We see no imminent threat based on reports coming in from our units," Cerbo told reporters.
The PNP said it is closely coordinating with the Muslim community in the Philippines to ensure that no violent protests will erupt, since Google has decided to block the controversial video only in Libya and Egypt.
"For example in ARMM, we are continuously assuring our citizens that the protests in other countries will not happen here. At this point we see no threat," Cerbo said.