A recent New York Times report detailed how IS is strengthening its presence in the Philippines as it is facing setbacks in the Middle East.
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Government vows to step up measures vs Islamic State
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - March 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday vowed to prevent Islamic State (IS) militants from spreading influence in the country. 

A recent New York Times report detailed how IS is strengthening its presence in the Philippines as it is facing setbacks in the Middle East. 

The IS has attracted militant jihadists in southern Philippines, which the group considers as its East Asia province, the report said.

The article mentioned last month’s bombing of a Catholic cathedral in Jolo, Sulu, which has been attributed to foreign suicide bombers and the Marawi siege in 2017. 

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said security forces would step up measures to prevent the IS from turning Mindanao into its stronghold. 

“We should undertake measures to prevent that from happening,” Panelo said, adding that the government is concerned about IS presence in Mindanao. 

Last year, Duterte warned that IS poses a threat to Mindanao despite losing strongholds in the Middle East. 

“We are in a troubled world. It’s dangerous. Crisis comes one after another. Maybe we just defused the most critical one. But on the other side of the world, there remains to be a problem of terrorism and political instability throughout the nations,” Duterte said in a speech last June. 

The President said the IS is now looking for new bases in Southeast Asia because of the losses they suffered in the Middle East. 

“The problem is they are losing the landmass fast in the Middle East. And the ISIS are being finished off, really literally they are being killed... They just want to kill and the worst of it is the hardliners or the insane leaders would always say that they want to kill all the infidels of this planet,” the President said. 

“We are not ready for that. We can never be ready for it. America and Russia, China, you can never really be ready in a war against terrorism. They struck, they disappear, they mix the shadow of humanity and forever commit impunity the way they want it to be,” he added. 

ISLAMIC STATE TERRORISM
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