Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana made the disclosure yesterday on the sidelines of the Army’s senior leaders’ forum at the Philippine Army (PA) headquarters at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City where he was guest of honor and keynote speaker.
Boy Santos
Lorenzana warns of Filipino jihadists from Iraq, Syria
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - March 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of National Defense (DND) is on the lookout for a number of Filipino jidahists who are reportedly planning to return to the country from Iraq and Syria.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana made the disclosure yesterday on the sidelines of the Army’s senior leaders’ forum at the Philippine Army (PA) headquarters at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City where he was guest of honor and keynote speaker.

While it remains uncertain if the Filipino jidahists would arrive in the country, Lorenzana said his  department is expecting that some of them are coming back home soon.

“We are not yet certain that those coming from Syria will arrive here because they are still there. Their area (in Syria) is still being contested. But we expect some of them to be trickling back soon,” he said.

“When the time comes that these Filipino jihadists who joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria return home and use the route of the country’s airports, they will be arrested,” he added.

But there is a probability that they would return to the country through the southern back door, Lorenzana said.

“If they come in by the usual route, we might be able to identify and grab them,” he said.

Earlier, a Filipino security analyst, Rommel Banlaoi, disclosed that around 100 foreign jidahists are operating in the country.

But Banlaoi’s claim was debunked by Lorenzana, who said that if indeed there are foreign terrorists in the country, their number could only be around 10.

Lorenzana said a trilateral border maritime patrol among the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia is now being heightened to constrict the border crossings of foreign and local terrorists into the three countries.

He also stressed to senior army officers that professionalism, physical fitness and keeping one’s nose clean are three attributes necessary in working with various stakeholders such as the media and local government units to address terror threats.

Maj. Gen. Viet Xuan Luong, commander of US Army based in Japan, told commanders at the forum that “becoming a strategic thinker doesn’t happen overnight as they must maintain professionalism in expertise and governance.”

DELFIN LORENZANA TERRORISM
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