From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 22): PH intensifies fight vs terror as foreign terrorists move to Asia
The Philippines is intensifying its cooperation with Indonesia and Malaysia in the fight against terrorism, as terrorists who may be ousted from Mosul in Iraq are expected to move to Asia, said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año.
Año told reporters they were closely monitoring the situation amid indication there were attempts from foreign fighters to come to the Philippines.
He noted that allied forces in Mosul are forecasting to achieve victory over Islamic States (ISIS) in six months.
“So we expect that those who will be displaced there will move to Asia. And because of the Marawi crisis, parang magnet itong Pilipinas (Philippines can be the terrorists’ magnet),” he said on the sidelines of trilateral security meeting between Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines held here Thursday.
Año bared that Philippine authorities have monitored 40 foreign terrorists across the country, half of which are Indonesians. The remaining 20 are Malaysians, Saudis and Yemenis.
To jointly combat terrorism, the AFP chief said the three countries are sharing counterterrorism information.
Año noted Malaysians and Indonesians were normally recruited by the ISIS as the group wanted to set up a base in Southeast Asia.
He added the launching of trilateral maritime patrol was aimed at countering terrorism.
The joint maritime operations by Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines to fight transnational crimes and terrorism in the Sulu Sea were launched last Monday in Tarakan, North Kalimantan, Indonesia.
“Not only intelligence, sharing information but (also) joint training. There is an ongoing joint training on counterterrorism and HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster relief),” Año added.
The AFP chief also stressed there was no need for assistance from Indonesian and Malaysian troops for the Marawi fighting.
“What is only important here is the information sharing and probably supporting each other for example helping us to observe their ways in order for us to legislate laws that will help us,” Año added.