THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is convinced that the militant Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) would have a hard time recruiting Muslim Filipinos to join its fight for self-rule.
“Our culture [will not allow it]because in ISIS recruitment [one is]asked if he can give something or contribute. It is not just your personal effort but also your resources,” a government security official said on Sunday, requesting anonymity because he lacked authority to speak on the subject.
The source pointed out that majority of Filipinos are poor and would not just give away whatever they have in life to ISIS jihadists.
“On that issue, the ISIS would really have a hard time recruiting and the fact that it is not our nature to just give away our resources,” he said.
Earlier, Executive Director Jean-Paul Laborde of the UN Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate said at present there is no indication that the extremist group has entered the Philippines even as he did not discount the possibility that the ISIS would be able to do it someday.
“No evidence yet that they are in the Philippines. But they will try to expand their network as much as they can. So, it is possible that one day, they will come,” Laborde said during a recent dialogue with Department of Justce and National Bureau of Investigation officials.
AFP spokesman Col. Resituto Padila said the UN official’s statement gave credence to earlier military pronouncement that there was no ISIS recruitment in the Philippines, particularly in Mindanao.
Padilla added that the military, in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies of the government, continues to explore other means that would strengthen the fight against terrorism.
But two Mindanao mayors, Davao City Mayor Eduardo Duterte and Mayor Joel Maturan of Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan, also earlier confirmed the reported ISIS recruitment in the Philippines.
Duterte had said there were some Muslim fighters recruited from his city, all of whom, he added, were able to leave for the Middle East last July.