Gov’t, MILF working vs Islamic State threat
Roel Pareño, Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) - September 28, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The government is working with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other groups to contain the threat posed by the Islamic State (IS), as reports said the group was gaining sympathizers and expanding recruitment in Southeast Asia.

As President Aquino had stated, the threat was being taken seriously, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said yesterday.

She said that apart from the MILF, “we have a lot of Muslim brothers who do not want these kinds of elements in Mindanao” and are cooperating with the government to prevent the spread of the IS threat.

Undersecretary Jose Lorena of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) headed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa is carefully addressing the “road” of radicalization in Southeast Asia and southern Philippines in particular.

Lorena said authorities could not ascertain yet if there is an existing connection with the IS in the country even as several groups and individuals were known to have committed to the extremists.

“Although there were statements in effect. So that is being verified by our security sector,” he said.

Lorena said there were already programs being laid on the ground to curb the threats of the IS penetrating the country.

Part of the program is the involvement of the madaris (Islamic schools) to counter extremism and promote reconciliation and healing.

“Part of the program is the de-radicalization, we have in the Office of the President (people) working on program of de-radicalization. We know about the influence and exploits of the extremists. The problem is not about religion and culture, it is the case of extremism and moderation,” Lorena said.

Lorena added they will tap the moderate Islam believers and academe in countering the influence of the extremists.

The Philippines had been cited as one of 40 nations on a widened “vigilance alert” raised by the French foreign ministry as a US senior military officer reported that about 1,000 volunteers from the Asia-Pacific region had sought to join the IS.

France raised the “vigilance alert” as part of its security measures following the beheading of French national Herve Gourdel by IS militants in Algeria.

Aside from the Philippines, France also placed on its alert list Malaysia and Indonesia, Asian countries that have large Muslim populations.

The Abu Sayyaf, tagged as a “foreign terrorist” group by the US, had threatened to kill one of two German hostages unless a ransom was paid and Berlin withdrew its support of a US-led air strike on the IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS, in those countries.

The Philippine government had said Abu Sayyaf has no genuine connection to the IS jihadists and was merely trying to cash in by proclaiming allegiance to the group as it continued to downplay reports of ISIS recruitment in the country.

Aquino said in New York that the government was ready to work with the US to stop the IS from carrying out plans to sow terror especially during the visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines in January of next year.

ABIGAIL VALTE ABU SAYYAF ANTI-TERRORISM COUNCIL AS PRESIDENT AQUINO EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO OCHOA HERVE GOURDEL ISLAMIC STATE ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND SYRIA LORENA SOUTHEAST ASIA
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with