Can someone verify this? Apparently we have manpads or shoulder-fired missiles? Or at least maybe the rebels have it in the South. If they have it why can't the military have it. But I don't think this is verified.http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/theworld/2006/February/theworld_February421.xml§ion=theworld
Philippine airports vulnerable to missile attacks, warns official
14 February 2006
MANILA - Philippine airports are vulnerable to shoulder-fired missile attacks, the country’s top anti-terror diplomat warned Tuesday as the parliament was urged to immediately pass legislation to crack down on terrorism.
The warning from the chairman of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC) anti-terrorism taskforce comes amid reports Al Qaeda-linked militants have strengthened contacts with local Muslim groups throughout the Philippines.
Chairman Benjamin Defensor, also the Philippines’ top envoy on counter-terrorism, said the 21 members of APEC had agreed late last year to boost security in the aviation sector.
He said each member country would be required to submit assessments this year on threats facing their airports after defense analysts warned that shoulder-fired missiles known as manpads posed a serious threat.“I will tell you right now, our airports (in the Philippines) are not safe,” Defensor told the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines.
He said manpads were traditionally used in conventional warfare to defend against enemy aircraft but could also be used against commercial aircraft.
Philippine airports could be especially vulnerable because of their close proximity to sprawling shanty towns, Defensor said.
Such weapons were also readily available in the Philippines, where Muslim insurgents have for years manufactured similar shoulder-fired rocket launchers in training camps in the country’s south.
The weapon was “very popular,” he said. “You can place it in your luggage, assemble it and you have a deadly weapon. And there is so many of them sold all over the world at rock bottom prices. That is the danger.”
Ricardo Blancaflor, the cabinet minister for anti-terrorism, urged legislators to immediately pass the government’s anti-terror bill which has been locked in Congressional debate for the past 10 years.
Blancaflor told the foreign correspondents club that while security forces have made inroads in their fight against militants, the threat remained.
Defensor said security would be scrutinised at Manila’s international airport and airports in the hubs of central Cebu and southern Davao.
A panel of APEC experts would then rate each airport’s safety and recommend improvements, Defensor said.
He conceded it would be “very expensive” for countries with vulnerable airports to re-route traffic, and that no matter how many extra precautions were taken, terrorists could still find a way to carry out attacks.
At least two southern Philippine airports have been bombed in recent years by Muslim militants believed to have links with Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), the Southeast Asian extremist group blamed for the Bali bombings last year and in 2002 that killed more than 200 people.
In one of the Filipino attacks, militants bombed the waiting area of the Davao international airport in March 2003, killing more than 20 people. In the same month, a busy wharf in Davao was also bombed