Palace on ISIS fighter: Filipino? Or just Filipino-looking Asian?
MANILA, Philippines–The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighter featured in one of the extremist group’s execution videos may look like a Filipino but he could be from any Asian country, Malacañang said Friday.
“You go to Indonesia and I assure you that if you see our Indonesian neighbors, they also look like Filipinos. A lot of us in Asia share the same characteristics and I would not be so bold as to say that he (the ISIS fighter) is Filipino),” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte told Palace reporters.
Photos of the said ISIS member circulated online after a UK website highlighted the fact that the jihadis in the video of the beheading of 18 Syrian soldiers and an American have been linked to various countries, including the Philippines.
While the Armed Forces of the Philippines has yet to confirm reports of ISIS recruitment in the country, Valte said they continue to verify such information.
“We are trying to vet pieces of information like this,” she said. “So far, the military has turned up information that is negative to this effect. But, again, efforts will continue, and as mentioned by our AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), their engagements will continue with the local officials just to make sure to avert any attempted any recruitment activities.”
Valte said it was wrong to “delve on hypotheticals” by claiming that the ISIS fighter was indeed a Filipino.
A couple of months ago, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte claimed that he has received reports that the Islamic extremist group has been recruiting rebels in southern Philippines.
The AFP has denied such claims.
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