MANILA – A Philippine think tank on Friday said it has received information that international terror organization Islamic State (ISIS) has tagged Mindanao as part of its province in East Asia.
Rommel Banlaoi, President of the Center for Intelligence and National Security Studies, said his information stated that ISIS Central in the Middle East recognized its followers in southern Philippines as part of its “Wilaya East Asia,” meaning ISIS province in the region.
Banlaoi said this would mean more funding to be infused to ISIS followers in the Philippines to be able to perform more terror attacks.
“Ibig sabihin kapag kinikilala na bilang probinsiya sa East Asia, may obligasyon na silang suportahan ka at isustain ka,” Banlaoi said.
“May mga targets sila na atakihin–hindi lang Lamitan sa Basilan, may ibang cities pa–through the use of improvised explosive device, car bomb motorcycle bomb, van bomb,” he added.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that they have yet to receive credible reports of another bombing but have ordered government forces to intensify their intelligence network and fortify checkpoints.
“Wala naman tayong nakikita pero nag-alert na yung pulis, alert na sila, just a precautionary alert measures,” Lorenzana said.
“Sabi ko nga, pagsabihan nyo lang lahat ng may checkpoint na yan, bombproof yung kanilang area, meron silang mga barricade dyan na lupa,” he said.
Lorenzana said foreign terrorists from the Middle East are passing through Malaysia via Sabah then to Tawi Tawi, or Indonesia via General Santos and Saranggani.
TERRORIST ARMIES FORMING
Banlaoi said Basilan and Central Mindanao are now the center of threat with two major groups forming its own army of terrorists, Dawla Islamiyah Maguindanao of Abu Turaife and Dawla Islamiyah Lanao of Abu Dar.
Banlaoi said ISIS declaration of “Wilaya East Asia” was motivated by the Marawi Siege and Basilan blast that showed the capability of their followers, though a failure as well, to sow terror in Mindanao.
The Armed Forces is beefing up their capability to fight terrorism. Aside from improving their ground forces and capabilities, Lorenzana said they are also planning to purchase a Russian made submarine.
“Siguro not within the year, siguro within the next 12 months baka pwedeng mafinalize yan, kasi kapag napirmahan yan it will take them four years to make it, so maideliver yan tapos na yung term ni presidente,” he said.
The Philippine Navy was also successful in the test fire of their newly acquired missiles.
Lorenzana said they will be purchasing more vessels with missile capability. They have also ordered off-shore patrol vessels that will be manufactured in Cebu by the company Austal, a subsidiary of the Austal in Australia.