Philippines says Miss Universe threat by Islamic State is ‘serious’

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 August, 2016, 12:17am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 August, 2016, 12:17am

Philippines tourism officials on Tuesday said a threat by an Islamic State-related group to bomb the Miss Universe beauty contest was “serious”, but insisted the country would be ready to hold the pageant next year.

A pro-IS social media channel tracked by the terror-monitoring SITE Intelligence Group showed a video on how to “create a bomb for Miss Universe”, referring to the beauty pageant to be held in Manila in January 2017.

The video, posted on Monday, appeared to show how to make an explosive belt for suicide operations.

“We consider this as serious,” said the tourism department, which last month announced it won the contest to host the 2017 pageant.

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It cited the country’s successful hosting of Pope Francis last year, as well as world leaders for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, as proof that it was ready for the expected influx of visitors for Miss Universe.

The threat would be referred to an intelligence group assigned to the pageant, national police spokesman Senior Superintendent Dionardo Carlos said.

“That’s going to be looked at,” he said, without giving details.

Filipino Muslim militants operating in the south of the country have in recent years pledged allegiance to the IS, though security officials and analysts said they were more focused on raising ransom from kidnappings than propagating an ideology.