Sri Lankan terrorists have snuck into the Philippines with the intent of training like-minded local militias on how to make bombs and attack churches, a report in the The Singapore Straits Times reported Saturday. The The Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) Northern Luzon Command went on red alert partly because of the Strait Times report and some other unverified information.

The report said that two of the terrorists have been identified by the Manila International Airport Authority as Mark Kevin Samhoon and Victoria Sophia Sto Domingo. Both have relatives in the Philippines and have been “tagged” as potential suicide bombers.

Their targets were thought to be Manila and other highly populated cities on Luzon, the largest of the Philippine islands.  

This upsetting news was refuted a day later by the AFP, according to CNN Philippines. Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said that the female, Sto Domingo, had submitted an affidavit to the National Bureau of Investigation's (NBI’s) counter-terrorism division to clear her name.

In Sunday’s statement, Gen. Arevalo said, “Victoria denied vehemently that she and her fiancé and father of her newborn child Mark Kevin Samhoon (Mark) are suicide bombers.” He added, “She claims further her father, Diosdado Manolette Mortalla Sto. Domingo, was behind the tagging and the tipping of the lie to authorities.” Victoria also defended her mother, saying that she was not a "terrorist financier."

The chairman of the Philippines Institute for Peace, Violence, and Terrorism and a security expert, Rommel Banlaoi, turned the attention toward Victoria's father saying he must be investigated for telling authorities that his own daughter is a suicide bomber. He said in a statement (translated to English) that based on information that came from Victoria during the NBI investigation, she does not have any involvement with any terrorist organization.

Samhoom supposedly has links to the Sri Lankan jihadist group, the National Thowheed Jama'ath, who are accused of killing about 250 people during Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka. His mother is a Filipino maid working in Dubai.

Sri Lanka Easter Day bombings Sri Lankan officials inspect St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, north of Colombo, after multiple explosions targeting churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on April 21, 2019, in Negombo, Sri Lanka. Photo: Stringer/Getty Images

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte shared his apprehensions about possible ISIS-inspired attacks in Luzon when he said in a speech, "I have ISIS, and this is what I am most afraid of. I am praying, really praying, kneeling before God, to spare us the kind of brutality and cruelty (ISIS brings) because it will really be bloody, bloody as it can be."

Even if the Straits Time story is fully debunked, the Philippines must continue to be vigilant against terrorist threats.