MANILA – Malacanang said it is standing by the statement of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that there is no presence of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Mindanao despite the recent flare up of violence in the region in previous weeks.
There were reports quoting security analysts mentioning about growing ISIS’ presence in the country.
Countering those reports, Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III on Saturday said in a radio interview: “Ayon kay General (Restituto) Padilla, there are no verified reports that local terrorists groups are getting support from the Islamic State.”
“Sinabi nga ni General Padilla: ‘Based on information at hand, there’s no presence of Daesh.’
“This has not been established; and that he said there’s no direct relation between the group here and the bigger terror group in the Middle East,” he told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
The job of the Armed Forces is to determine these security matters that concern the safety of the Filipino public.
The Armed Forces has proven its capacity in the past and the Palace believes that its assessment is correct, Quezon added.
The military reported this week that it has already taken control of the camp of the armed group Maute in Butig, Lanao del Sur after days of intense offensive.
The report said government troops overran the main camp of the armed group in Barangay Poktan, where the houses of Maute leaders, brothers Omar and Abdullah Maute, were located.