World Bulletin / News Desk
President Rodrigo Duterte has reiterated his desire to put an end to a ISIL-linked group which continues to pose a serious threat to peace in the country's south.
In a state-run radio interview Saturday, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that Duterte had emphasized the campaign against the Abu Sayyaf, corruption and illegal drugs in a joint command conference with top military and police officials Friday.
"He reiterated his guidance regarding corruption especially... [and emphasized] his campaign against drugs and terrorism," said Abella, adding that police had also brought up the security threats from local terrorist groups.
Philippines "terror" groups the Abu Sayyaf, the Maute Group and Al-Khalifa have all sworn allegiance to ISIL.
In attendance were the army chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Eduardo Ano, and the police chief, Dir. Gen. Ronald Dela Rosa, along with key staff and unit commanders from both institutions.
Duterte, as the president, also serves as the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police.
Abella said top coast guard officials were also present during the command conference.
Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf -- armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles -- has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in a self-determined fight for an independent province in the Philippines.
For years it focused its kidnappings on the mainland, but police and military reports released in 2016 state that it has shifted its priorities from abducting foreigners and businesspeople to foreign-flagged tugboats and their crews -- many of them Malaysian and Indonesian nationals -- in local shipping lanes.
The group is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release,
Friday's command conference came three days before the Black Nazarene procession, an annual Roman Catholic procession that sees a statue paraded through the capital in front of millions of devotees.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno has said that local terrorist groups may target the Jan. 9 religious event.
The "terror" groups pledge to ISIL has prompted fears during the stalling of a peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebel group that ISIL could make inroads in a region torn by decades of armed conflict.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Ocak 2017, 13:38