Duterte confirms: ISIS recruits some Dabawenyos

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Sunday, August 24, 2014


DAVAO CITY -- Mayor Rodrigo Duterte confirmed Sunday that some young Dabawenyos have been recruited to join the ISIS, which refers to itself as the Islamic State and is formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Duterte expressed concern over these young people, who left the city just a month ago.

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"Mabalaka ko ba. (I am concerned.) I am not condemning anybody here. But maluoy ko sa mga muadto didto. OK man siguro na sa iya. Pero kita nga isig katao niya, maguol (I feel sad for those who go there. They probably feel it's alright, but us fellow humans, we feel sad.) They are driven with set of values or find satisfaction," Duterte said during the "Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa" on Sunday.

Former President Fidel Ramos, who was interviewed in ANC Beyond Politics, said there are at least 100 Filipinos now reportedly training with jihadists in the ISIS.

This was immediately denied by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, saying the military intelligence had not monitored any Filipinos present in the ISIS.

"(They are denying it) because dili pa sila sigurado nga tua didto nag fight. Basta lang ang napasa sa amo nga naa lang muadto ngadto (they aren't sure if they're already fighting overseas. The only reports we've received said that there will be some sent there)," Duterte said.

While he refused to elaborate more on the recruitment process, Duterte just wanted to point out that he is not against anybody or anything.

"Dako man ko respeto basta prinsipyo na. (I have a lot of respect as long as it's for principle.) I just hope dili ma generate into something bad for us here. They are driven by religious principles. Islam is a very good religion. I just hope that they are there to fight for religious purposes and not for hatred. I just hope that they are well there. Whatever it is, they are still Filipinos," he said.

What alarmed Duterte more, he said, is that the reports that the "BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters), the other faction of Cotabato front, has pledged allegiance to the ISIS."

"Medyo nabalaka ko. (I'm a little concerned.) I'm wondering what would be the dimensions," he said.

Instead of reacting negatively and stopping these Davaoños from leaving the city to ISIS, Duterte remains hopeful all is well.

"It's a campaign of terror. But I just hope they will leave it that way there. They can come here and talk to me and have coffee," he said.

In an ABS-CBN report, Ramos mentioned about the Abu Sayyaf Group and the BIFF, which broke away from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

"The report that has been reaching us retired people...at least 100 of our young Filipino Muslims have already infiltrated Iraq to undergo training to return and be jihadists or militants," he said.

"Ramos did not give details but said the Abu Sayyaf has been encouraged by the success of the Islamic State (IS), formerly known known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria," the report read.

"IS, which has displaced Al-Qaeda, recently declared an Islamic caliphate in territory it controls in Iraq and Syria," it added. (Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 25, 2014.

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