Friday, June 2, 2017

Duterte: Mindanao rebellion not Maute but ‘purely ISIS’

From Malaya Business Insight (Jun 2): Duterte: Mindanao rebellion not Maute but ‘purely ISIS’

PRESIDENT Duterte yesterday said the conflict in Marawi City is not the work of the Maute Group but of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The Marawi conflict, which involves clashes between government forces and the Maute since Tuesday last week, prompted Duterte to place the entire Mindanao under martial law.

Duterte noted he had long warned that ISIS may eventually come to the Philippines -- which he said is now happening -- after Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon was supposedly named as ISIS head in the country.

Alam mo iyang rebellion ngayon sa Mindanao, it’s not Maute, it’s purely ISIS with different branch... Noong si Hapilon na ipinadala sa Central Mindanao and he was anointed as the emir, doon na ako nakaamoy na something terribly wrong is going to happen (The rebellion in Mindanao, it’s not Maute, it’s purely ISIS with different branch. When Hapilon was sent to Central Mindanao and he was anointed as the emir, it was then I sensed something terribly wrong was going to happen),” he said.

Duterte issued the statement in Malacañang after administering the oath of office to new government officials.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, asked about Duterte’s statement, said, “Maute is already ISIS. So they are one and the same.”

Duterte said Islamist militants being driven out of Iraq and Syria were looking for a new base and the siege of Marawi City was planned a long time ago.

He also reiterated that the radicals in the South were getting funding from the illicit drugs trade, and said the Maute brothers, who the militant group is named after, were involved in narcotics.

Duterte also said he would lift martial law in Mindanao once the situation in there becomes stable.

But unless the military and the police tell him the situation is already stable, martial law should continue and Congress should be able to understand in case there is a need to extend it.

Duterte also said he is saddened that he is losing soldiers and policemen in the situation in Marawi City.

“I lose about three, four (soldiers, police a day). It keeps on increasing everyday for as long as that war rages on. I am one of those who are really hurrying it up. The earlier we attain the equanimity of the community, the stability, I’d be the first to clamor for the lifting of martial law,” he said.

Lorenzana, in a briefing earlier in Malacañang, confirmed members of the Maute family are being investigated in connection with illegal drugs.

Lorenzana said one of the family members of the Maute was in fact included in the “narcolist” of the President.

He said one of them is a mayor.

“So we believe that the narco-politics there is working. The proceeds of the narcotics are being used for this terroristic activity there,” he said.

He added that some of the illegal drugs, particularly shabu, that are being distributed to parts of Mindanao like Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Zamboanga, Cotabato, are coming from Lanao del Sur.

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