THE report that there are 1,200 fighters of the Islamic State (IS) in the Philippines stresses the need for the country to improve its intelligence coordination with other countries, senators said on Monday.
Senator Panfilo Lacson said extremists like IS fighter are targeting certain parts of countries that they think are vulnerable and where they can have influence.
“The world has become smaller not only in terms of modern information technology but also on Muslim extremism aimed at establishing an Islamic states in other countries,” he said.
Lacson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Safety, noted that the information given by the Indonesian defense minister highlights the need for security officials to closely coordinate with neighboring countries.
Security officials should also improve the exchange of intelligence information with other countries like the United States and the European Union.
Senator Gregorio Honasan echoed Lacson’s sentiments, noting that since terrorism is a global problem, the Philippines needs the help of other countries.
“It (terrorism) should be addressed consequently thru close coordination, cooperation, exchange of information by the international community,” said Honasan.
Meanwhile, Senator Vicente Sotto 3rd called on President Rodrigo Duterte to convene the National Security Council (NSC) and assess the situation.
“I think it’s about time the President convene National Security Council for a full assessment of the country’s security situation,” he said in a text message.
Defense Undersecretary Ricardo David, admitted that the information about the 1,200 IS fighters in the Philippines was new to him.
He said the military believes that there are only about 250 to 400 IS fighters.