CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: The military and the police in Northern Mindanao are closely monitoring reports of the alleged recruitment of the Maute and other Islamic State-linked groups in the region.
Supt. Lemuel Gonda, spokesman for the regional police command, said the reports were taken seriously during the Regional Peace and Order Council last week.
Recruitment is reportedly undergoing in Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City and the Central Mindanao region.
The immediate targets of recruitment are relatives of those affected by the Marawi conflict, the “Balik-Islam” group or converts and residents in Lanao del Sur and neighboring provinces, the council reported.
He said the terror group was reportedly recruiting students in various universities and colleges in Northern Mindanao, including high school students, by offering them each P20,000 per month.
Aside from paying P 20,000 upfront to the new recruits, the group reportedly promised a monthly stipend once they started formal training, Gonda added.
In Central Mindanao, the council received information that new recruits are each offered P 50,000.
Gonda said the military and the police were closely coordinating with the local officials and the Department of Education to thwart the alleged recruitment activities.
Chief Insp. Mardy Hortilloza said the military and the police were coordinating with local Muslim and religious leaders in Northern Mindanao to verify the alleged recruitment of women.
“The local law enforcers are closely monitoring various ‘soft areas’ in the city like the Mosques, schools, and the local Moslem community,” Hortilloza said.
The Maute group, led by Isnilon Hapilon, the designated IS “emir” in Southeast Asia, attempted to establish a caliphate in the Muslim dominated city of Marawi in May, which resulted in a five-month gun battle with the government forces.
Hapilon was killed with Maute leader Omarkayam Maute in October.
The five-month armed conflict resulted in the deaths of about 1,000 people and the displacement of 400,000 Marawi residents.