From the Philippine News Agency (May 9): PHL, Malaysia, Indonesia work together to stop entry of ISIS members
As the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is "losing ground in the Middle East," the armed forces of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia are closely monitoring the possible entry of "hundreds of ISIS members in their territories," an official said Tuesday.
These ISIS members, mostly from Malaysia and Indonesia who went to Iraq and Syria a few years ago to join the dreaded group, are expected to come back "as the ISIS areas are gradually being constricted in the Middle East," said Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief.
“We can assure the Filipino people that we are working diplomatically with other countries in order to prevent the entry of ISIS in the Philippines,” Galvez told the Philippines News Agency.
Part of the cooperation is the sharing of critical information with the neighboring countries, he added.
“In fact, (we have a good working relationship) because of the tripartite agreement that we have signed not only for cross border patrol arrangements but also to counter Daesh (ISIS),” he said.
The Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia have an existing agreement to clear the waters of Sulu and Celebes Seas of pirates and other transnational criminal groups such as the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
The Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies said earlier it has monitored a “propaganda video released by the ISIS in five languages--Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, English, Malay and Tagalog--calling its supporters in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines who cannot join the group in Syria to ‘join the mujahideen in the Philippines’ instead.”
Galvez said the defense ministers of the three countries have met to address this problem.
“There was a conference among defense chiefs purposely to look into the possibility on what will happen if the ISIS loses its territories in Syria and Iraq. Definitely, they (ISIS members) will go back to their places of origin,” he said.
Galvez said they also are working closely with their counterparts in the United States and Australia to prevent the entry of ISIS members and supporters in the Philippines.