MANILA — A leader of the House of Representatives on Tuesday said tracking down and cutting off the money supply line of terrorist groups in Mindanao could bolster the government’s war against terror.
In a statement, House appropriations committee chair and Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles called for a deeper investigation on the PHP79 million worth of cash and checks recovered by government forces in Marawi City.
Nograles stressed the need to trace the source of these funds, which he said could be connected to the “intricate financing network of ISIS-linked terrorist groups” in southern Philippines.
“The discovery of this financial stash is a grim indication that Maute and the other terrorist groups are not only well-armed and well-trained but are also well-financed,” Nograles said.
“Our soldiers particularly the Philippine Marines delivered a major blow on Maute’s ability to move around by seizing a considerable amount of the terror group’s money,” he added.
Nograles, primary author of the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act (Republic Act 10168), said the law allows the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to freeze the financial assets of those perceived to be involved in providing financial aid to suspected terrorists.
The House leader urged the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation to immediately trace the money trail and determine if the source is linked to terrorist operations, particularly of the Maute group.
“The next step should be to trace the money trail and immediately freeze all financial assets that are tied up with the money seized in Marawi. We can debilitate these terrorists if we destroy their money pot,” Nograles said.
Furthermore, the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines can also use the extraordinary powers of martial law to crush terror financing in Mindanao, the lawmaker noted.
“The government’s job of neutralizing these terrorists will be made be easier if we can deny them financial support. Without money, they will be helpless, and that makes it easier for government to track them down and neutralize them,” Nograles said.