CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: Authorities in Northern Mindanao are watching closely reports about the alleged recruitment of the Maute-IS groups in the region, police reported Wednesday.
Superintendent Lemuel Gonda, spokesman of the regional police command here, said that the issue was taken seriously during the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) here.
Gonda said the recruitment was reportedly ongoing here, Iligan City and Central Mindanao area.
The immediate target of the recruitment are the relatives of those affected by the Marawi conflict, the Balik-Islam group, and residents in the province of Lanao Del Sur and neighboring provinces, the RPOC said.
He said that the Maute-IS group was recruiting students in various universities and colleges in Northern Mindanao, including high school students, by offering P20,000 to prospective members.
Aside from paying P 20,000 up front, the Maute-IS group promises a monthly stipend once the new recruits start formal training, Gonda said.
In Central Mindanao, the RPOC reported that the new recruit was offered P50,000.
Gonda said that the military and police were coordinating closely with the local officials and the Department of Education (DepEd) to immediately inform the law enforcers about the alleged recruitment activities.
Gonda said that while the military and the police regional command have not received reports about the possible recruits in the region, the law enforcers were not taking chances.
He said the military and police would also coordinate with the local Muslim and religious leaders in Northern Mindanao in verifying and preventing the alleged report.
The Maute-IS group, with the late Isnilon Hapilon as “Emir” in Southeast Asia, attempted to establish a “caliphate” in the Muslim dominated city of Marawi in May, resulting in a five-month gun battle with government forces.
The armed conflict resulted in the death of about 1,000 people and the displacement of 400,000 others when the armed conflict ended in mid-October.