By SAMMY JULIAN
Manila News Bureau Chief
MANILA — Security and intelligence authorities in the Philippines were monitoring the possible recruitment by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other foreign extremist groups in the country, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
In a statement, the DFA said the reported deaths of two Filipinos fighting with the opposition in Syria remain unconfirmed to date.
Even with this, the government acknowledges the potential threats to national security that could be posed by Filipinos joining extremist groups overseas.
One of such threats is the propagation of extremist ideas and terrorism by Filipinos affiliated with such groups upon their return home, said the DFA.
“We reiterate that the Philippines condemns the war crimes and crimes against humanity being perpetrated by ISIS,” the department said. “As a responsible member of the international community, the Philippines will do its part in global efforts to thwart ISIS.”
Several organizations of Muslim Filipinos have publicly proclaimed their allegiance to ISIS and its founder, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
A group of Muslims, Ansar Dawlah Fi Filibbin, recently posted a video showing several men performing a Bay-ah or pledge of allegiance to Baghdadi.
Muslim detainees purportedly at the Special Intensive Care Area of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City were also seen in a video performing the same Bay-ah to Baghdadi.
Meanwhile, former president Fidel V. Ramos had said in a television interview that about 100 young Filipinos are training with the terrorist group.
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City also claimed that some Davao residents were recruited by ISIS and have left the country either for Iraq or Syria in July.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines dismissed these reports, citing its own intelligence report that found no Filipino rebels recruited and trained by ISIS./PN