THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday condemned the “war crimes and crimes against humanity” being perpetrated by the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) against Muslims and Christians and other religious and ethnic groups in the Middle East.
In a statement, the DFA on Wednesday said the Philippines will work with the international community in thwarting the violence even as it recognized “the potential threat to national security posed by Philippine nationals joining extremist groups overseas.”
“Such dangers include the propagation of extremist ideas and terrorism by Filipinos affiliated with such groups upon their return home,” it added.
The DFA issued the statement amid unconfirmed reports that some 100 Filipinos were recruited and are now training with the jihadists in Iraq.
Deferring security matters to defense and intelligence authorities, it said concerned government agencies are monitoring the possible recruitment by ISIS and other foreign extremist groups in the Philippines.
It, however, did not confirm reports that 100 Filipinos traveled to Syria to join the ISIS, and that two Filipinos died fighting with the jihadist group in March of this year.
“As a responsible member of the international community, the Philippines will do its part in global efforts to thwart ISIS,” the DFA statement stressed.
Earlier, US Ambassador to Manila Philip Goldberg admitted that the US and the Philippine governments are monitoring “very closely the developments in the recruitment of extremist fighters from southern Philippines and other parts of the globe.”
The al-Qaeda-linked ISIS hogged headlines in the past months after its beheading of two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and a British aid worker David Haines, purportedly as their response to the US military operations against them in Syria and Iraq.
Rebels in the Mindanao region in southern Philippines, specifically members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) earlier expressed their support for ISIS.
US President Barack Obama announced an aggressive military campaign against ISIS last week as scores of US air strikes found their way to select targets in Iraq.