Security expert: Claims of ISIS recruitment in PH should be taken seriously
MANILA, Philippines–The claims of former President Fidel V. Ramos (FVR) and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte confirming that an unidentified number of Filipinos have been recruited to train and fight with terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) should not be dismissed outright, a national security expert said Tuesday.
In an interview over Radyo Inquirer 990 AM, Rommel Banlaoi, director of Center for Intelligence and National Security Studies, said that Ramos and Duterte would not risk tarnishing their reputation if they fabricate false claims.
“’Pag nagsalita kasi si FVR, dapat seryosohin natin ‘yan kasi hindi naman i-ri-risk ni FVR ‘yung kanyang reputation para magsabi ng maling impormasyon. Sa tingin ko rin, ‘pag nagsalita si Mayor Duterte, dapat seryosohin at huwag isawalang-bahala dahil kilala natin ‘yung mga tao na ‘yan na hindi nagsasabi ng mga bagay na wala silang batayan,” Banlaoi said.
(When FVR speaks, it should be taken seriously because FVR would not risk his reputation to share false information. I also think that when Mayor Duterte speaks, it should also be taken seriously and it should not be ignored because these officials will not share information without basis.)
Banlaoi added that the local rebel group Kalifa Islamiyaah, also known as the Black Flag Movement, could be allied with the ISIS.
“Sa pananaliksik namin, naniniwala kami na ang Black Flag Movement dito sa Pilipinas ay malakas ang kanilang pananampalataya sa ina-advance ng ISIS,” said Banlaoi.
(Based on our research, we believe that the Black Flag Movement in the country believes strongly in the teachings advanced by ISIS.)
Duterte confirmed Monday that a number of Davao residents were recruited and have left the country last July to join ISIS.
Ramos last week said that at least 100 Filipinos have been training with the jihadists.
However, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Monday that the claims of Ramos and Duterte are unverified and they have not reported any Filipino rebels leaving the country.
AFP, however, confirmed that the Kalifa Islamiyaah is training recruits in the borders of Lanao and Maguindanao.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.