‘Talks on ISIS recruitment in Mindanao persist due to Paris attack’
Bebot Sison Jr., Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - November 29, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The recent terror attack in Paris might have fueled the perception of some groups that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been recruiting in Mindanao despite government assurance that no terror threat exists in the country, a police official said yesterday.

“The apprehensions may have been caused by the incident in Paris and also because of the latest serving of existing warrants of arrest of identified criminals and rouge elements posing as extremist terrorists,” Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said.

“However, further assessment revealed they have no verified and confirmed links to these notorious extremists,” he added.

Mayor said the so-called homegrown extremists are mere bandits and criminals.

“The constant call for vigilance and alertness on the part of citizens is proactive approach to ensure everyone will do their part to make their communities safe since we have a limited number of police and soldiers,” he said.

Authorities said there is no credible threat from the ISIS in the Philippines despite a recent clash in Mindanao that killed eight suspected extremists, including an Indonesian. Their group claimed affiliation with ISIS.

Malacañang on Friday directed authorities to verify possible links to ISIS of the eight men killed in the encounter in Sultan Kudarat.

Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, on the other hand, urged the government to join the global fight against extremists amid reports that cells in Southeast Asia plan to sow terror under the umbrella of the ISIS.

Gatchalian also supported appeals in the Senate for an increase in next year’s budget for the Department of National Defense (DND) considering the global terror threats and concerns in the country’s security.

Gatchalian made the call following a report quoting Malaysia deputy home minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed as saying it is possible that terror attacks similar to those done in Paris may be launched by ISIS fighters coming back from Syria in Southeast Asia.

“Our government must consider being part of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. We live in a very interconnected world and the terror attacks happening in one part of the globe may happen in our region, especially that we have a terror group in our own backyard that already swore allegiance to ISIS. The problem becomes bigger if the Abu Sayyaf joins forces with other militant groups to form an ISIS province in Southeast Asia,” Gatchalian said.

He said the Philippines is not explicitly included in the list of countries that have joined the coalition.

But in a resolution adopted by the UN Security Council on Nov. 20 following the terror attacks in Paris, all able states were called upon to “redouble and coordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by ISIL also known as Da’esh.”

The UN Security Council described Daesh as “a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security.” –Paolo Romero

 

ABU SAYYAF ACIRC CHIEF SUPT DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE GATCHALIAN GLOBAL COALITION ISIS ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND SYRIA SECURITY COUNCIL SOUTHEAST ASIA TERROR
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