ISIS recruiters target Mindanao schools


SUPPORTERS of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have made schools and a university in Mindanao their hunting ground as they continue to recruit new members, according to an imam or high priest in a Cotabato mosque who was “invited” to join the jihadist group.

The imam told The Manila Times that members of a Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror cell have organized themselves into a recruitment group and are wooing the youth, particularly students in private and public schools aged 16 to 18, to embrace the cause being propagated by the ISIS.

The priest’s claim was confirmed by a teenager who was recruited to join the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The 14-year-old boy, a student of a private school in Cotabato City, told The Times that he and several of his classmates were recruited by Abdulrahman Macapaar or Commander Bravo, head of the 103rd MILF Brigade.

The boy said he and nine other teenagers underwent military training in a secret camp in Lanao del Norte.

He added that Commander Bravo indoctrinated them and told them to support the ISIS. They were also told to invite their friends and other young people.

Bravo figured in a series of attacks on various military detachments in Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte in 2003. He and former 104th MILF Brigade Base Commander Ameril Umbra Kato launched the attacks when the Memorandum Of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Bravo is recognized by the MILF central committee as the 103rd regional field commander. He is responsible for recruiting young fighters.

The imam, who asked that his identity be hidden, said Bravo’s group urged him to support the ISIS. He added that ISIS recruiters are also targeting students and professors of Mindanao State University (MSU) because if educators joined the group, it will be easier to indoctrinate young minds and gain more support for the jihadist group. MSU has branches in the cities of Marawi, Iligan and General Santos.

A retired police intelligence officer also on Monday confirmed the ongoing recruitment of ISIS followers in several provinces in Mindanao.

The former officer, Rodolfo Mendoza, said based on information that his group gathered, some foreign jihadists are looking for more recruits to join their cause of establishing a caliphate in the region.

These foreign jihadists are being assisted by some members of the Abu Sayyaf (ASG), he added.

Mendoza, who retired from the police service in 2008, is the president of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR). He has been credited for uncovering Oplan Bujinka, a plot by al-Qaeda-linked militants to launch attacks in the US.

The retired police intelligence officer said the ISIS recruitment is strong in Lanao provinces, Zamboanga peninsula and the provinces of Basilan and Sulu. He added that recruitment is also done on the Internet.

“Filipino Muslims are considered members once they pledge their allegiance,” Mendoza said.

He added that Filipino Muslims who have pledged their allegiance to ISIS are now considered part of the “Islamic Caliphate.”

“All militant Islamic organizations are now part of the Islamic caliphate army,” Mendoza said. He added that among the militant groups that have pledged their allegiance or “baia’ to ISIS are the ASG, JI and Khilafa Islamiyah Movement (KIM).

“There’s now debates on what category Philippine militant organizations belong. Are they adjunct, branch, support groups or affiliate?” Mendoza said.

He explained that the difference between ISIS and al-Qaeda is that the former took huge territories in Iraq and Syria. Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda never proclaimed a caliphate.

“It’s very clear that (ISIS) compositions are multinationals,” Mendoza said.
Over the weekend, a source from the intelligence community said a Malaysian JI member, Amin Baco, is among the ardent ISIS sympathizers who are in the country.

But Senior Supt. Wilben Mayor, the newly-appointed spokesman for the Philippine National Police, would not confirm or deny Baco’s presence in Mindanao.

He told reporters in a news briefing in Camp Crame in Quezon City that any issue related to terrorism should be coursed to the Anti-Terrorism Council.


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  1. Mga Pilipino…mag-isip isip din kayo pag may time…

    Wala pa man, eh ganito na ang nagyayari…ano pa, pag natuloy ang kabaliwang Bangsamoro ni PNoy…!

    Are you ready to convert to Islam, submit to it as dhimmies, or be BEHEADED…!???

    Do yourselves a favor and read the QURAN, it is available online…then you will understand how evil Islam really is…and why there is non-stop violence, killings, so much poverty and backwardness in all Muslim countries….

    Read also its prophet’s biography, THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD, and their Sharia Manual, THE RELIANCE OF THE TRAVELER…they are fascinating and shocking reading…!

    I wonder if the members of the GPH peace panel ever read these “holy” books…

    The Muslims are good people, it is Islam that is evil…

  2. Ano ang ginagawa nag gobyerno tungkol dito! BL, MILF, MNLF atbp eh puro kabalastugan ang mga iyan! Me problema eh nandadamay pa. Religious cleansing ang hanap ng mga iyan kaya dapat eh linisin din sila kundi sila tumiwalag sa baluktot na pag-iisip. Puro alias or AKA eh puro duwag naman pala ang mga iyan! Eh bigay ang tunay na pangalan at ipakita ang pagkalalake ninyo. Hindi puro abdul, abu, dulah, bravo, kato eh ano iyan puro characters ng Hello Kitty. Lahat ng sundalong nakaharap ninyo eh me name tag eh kayo nagtatakip pa ng mukha dahil sobra ang pangit ninyo. Bawal talaga ang pangit tulad ninyo dahil wala kayong gagawin mabuti sa bayan natin. Mabuti pa nga sumama na kayo sa ISIS (isip sisig) dahil deprived kayo sa buhay ninyo subalit ayaw nyong mag-tiis tulad ng inyong mga kapatid.

  3. Let us hope that Philippine authorities pay attention to this very alarming issue. It will be very difficult to defeat ISIS once it has grown in countries outside of the Middle East.

  4. The “Kato’s” and “Bravo’s” of MILF — naghahandang gumawa ng gulo kapag sinabihan na naman na hindi-puwede iyang Bangsamoro bangsa moro.

    Mabuti nga siguro at iyong gobyerno-Pilipinas sundalo na nasa Golan Heights ay nakabalik na. Dapat dagdagan ng sundalo ang Mindanao sa 2015-2016. To be forewarned is to be prudent.