MANILA, Philippines - In a bid to underscore his administration’s fight against extremists in southern Philippines, President Duterte has ordered government forces to use all available resources to go after the two factions of the Abu Sayyaf that have showed allegiance to the Islamic State (IS).
Duterte said he has given the directive to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the bid to save Mindanao from extremism.
“I have directed AFP and PNP to continuously contain the IS threat, to intensify operations using all available assets and resources. This is the only way to secure Mindanao,” Duterte told the alumni gathering of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in Baguio City yesterday.
Duterte also referred to Mindanao as the “Land of Promise” which he hopes to develop during his term.
Duterte said the Abu Sayyaf has been holed up in Sulu and Basilan where their leaders continue to wreak havoc.
“The Sulu-based ASG is focused on kidnap-for-ransom. The Basilan-based ASG under Hapilon remains focused on assimilating the IS violence,” he said.
“As I predicted, IS would find its way to the Philippines. The ASG leader Hapilon, the overall leader of the IS Philippines, however, has been severely wounded in an encounter with the military,” Duterte said.
In his previous speeches, Duterte warned of the threat of the IS which has been working for a caliphate all over the world.
He cited the IS as a major problem, which also needs government attention in addition to the ongoing fight against illegal drugs and graft and corruption.