By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said local Daesh-inspired terrorists are calling on their Middle East counterparts for financial help to help underwrite their continued insurgency in the Philippines.
Lorenzana made the announcement in a press briefing in Marawi City prior the turnover of 500 temporary housing units to Marawi internally displaced persons (IDPs) to be led by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Lorenzana said they are yet to confirm whether the ISIS-inspired terrorists have successfully recruited new members but assured that the DND is continuously monitoring their movements.
“Mino-monitor natin ‘yan. May mga balitang naririnig ang military pero hanggang ngayon balita lang naman. Wala pang confirmation na nagre-recruit talaga sila (We are monitoring that. We have received news but that’s it for now. We still don’t have confirmation),” Lorenzana said.
He, however, confirmed that based on reports from the intelligence community, the terrorists are seeking help from their foreign counterparts.
“Pero naririnig natin (But we’ve received reports) [intelligence from the international community] na humihingi sila [terrorists] ng tulong (that the terrorists are seeking for), financial help, from their comrades in the Middle East,” Lorenzana said.
“‘Pag walang resources, nahihirapan silang mag-recruit (If they do not have the resources, it will be hard for them to recruit),” he added.
President Duterte announced the liberation of Marawi City following the deaths of terrorist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute.
Earlier, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) confirmed that they had monitored “remnants” of the Maute-ISIS group to be recruiting members from the vulnerable sectors–women, children, students, and family members of the fallen terrorists.
“Ang recruitment na namo-monitor natin ay buhat sa mga remnants ng Maute-ISIS group. May namo-monitor tayo sa (The recruitment we hve monitored we conducted by the Maute-ISIS group in the) immediate vicinity of Marawi,” AFP spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo said in a Palace press briefing last December 15.
“Dito natin nakikita ‘yung nagi-i-intensify pa rin sila in the sense na hindi sila humihinto sa kanilang ginagawang recruitment at patuloy na pagkumbinsi na sumali sa kanilang hanay (Here we can see that they are trying to intensify their forces through their continued recruitment),” he added.
The AFP spokesperson said the terrorists group are still offering financial remunerations but with no exact amount. He added that it is not known whether terrorists were able to really deliver the promised amount.
“Ang monitoring natin nito ay base doon sa mga nire-report din sa atin ng mga citizen in this locality. So, definitely hindi naman openly nila ginagawa ang kanilang pagre-recruit (Our monitoring is based on the reports of the citizens in this locality. Definitely they are not recruiting in the open),” Arevalo said.