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US closely monitoring ISIS threat in Philippines, Southeast Asia

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The US is working closely with the government to monitor the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

Speaking at the Pandesal Forum in Quezon City, US Ambassador Philip Goldberg said the rhetorical support of the Abu Sayyaf, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and Ansar al-Khalifa to ISIS might become a danger to the country or the region.

“We all have to be on guard against groups that pledge allegiance to ISIS, that say they want involvement in the kinds of activities and ideologies presented by ISIS, and we are watching that ISIS in the Philippines very closely and we need to continue to do so to make sure that whatever rhetorical support or whatever might be happening behind the scenes is not something that becomes a danger to the Philippines or the region,” he said.

“And I think that’s a joint commitment that we have, the security involving the countries of the world who are trying to defeat this scourge of terrorism, especially the one represented by this brutal group,” he added. 

The world is facing terrorists using social media and other means of communication to link groups and ideologies in many places, Goldberg said.

“What I’m saying is that we have to watch very closely to see if at any point something develops more than this rhetorical situation, and we are concerned that something like that could happen, that’s why we do watch it closely,” he said.

“That’s why we cooperate on counter terrorism; that’s why we share information; that’s why we work for the special forces in the Philippines,” Goldberg added.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said the Philippines   stands in solidarity with other peace-loving countries in expressing deep concern on the continuing terrorist acts worldwide that indiscriminately target innocent civilians.

“Of late, the world has witnessed terrorist acts in Europe, Africa and  Asia,” read the statement.

“Today, more than ever, the world should close ranks to ensure that terrorism is combated in all its forms and wherever they may occur.”

ABU SAYYAF

ACIRC

AMBASSADOR PHILIP GOLDBERG

BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS AND ANSAR

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

GOLDBERG

ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND SYRIA

PANDESAL FORUM

PHILIPPINES AND SOUTHEAST ASIA

QUEZON CITY

WHAT I

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