By Joseph Jubelag
GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Authorities have intensified intelligence monitoring of alleged foreign terrorists, who pass themselves as Filipinos while embedded with local terrorist groups operating in Mindanao.
An intelligence official working for the government’s counter-terrorism agency said they have retrieved documents purportedly issued by concerned government agencies that showed that the suspected foreign terrorists were issued with Philippine birth certificates by submitting spurious documents.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said the issuance of the certificates of birth for foreign nationals was allegedly facilitated by their local contacts within the local terror groups.
“Vetting the face value of the birth certificates, the documents are officially registered with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA),” the official noted.
He said this has caused alarm for security forces, which have been pursuing foreign terrorists who are embedded with local ISIS-inspired terror groups in Mindanao.
Early this week, government forces intensified military operations in the major strongholds of ISIS-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Maguindanao which resulted in the death of at least 17 terrorists, including a suspected Arab national.
The official said the registration of the birth certificates, which were issued to suspected foreign terrorists, was traced to the laxity on the government’s procedure in admitting late registrants who apply for birth certificates.
Local civil registrar Dexter Imperial admitted that personnel of the Local Civil Registry (LCR) lack the technical capability to verify and validate documents which were submitted to their office by the applicant as requisites before the issuance of the birth certificate.
He said the required documents in the application of birth certificate include baptismal certificate and form 137 school credential which are not subjected to diligent validation and verification.
“The applicants are not also required to personally appear before the office of the Local Civil Registry,” Imperial said.
Marifi De Asis, PSA supervising statistical analyst, stressed that all data and documents submitted to their office by the LCR were presumed to be authentic.
She said the documents submitted to their office by the LCR are encoded into the PSA database which serves as the government’s official reference in the issuance of birth certificates for local citizens.
PSA and LCR officials assured to closely coordinate with security and law enforcement officials to help them validate and verify spurious documents submitted surreptitiously required for the issuance of birth certificate.