The armed forces of the Philippines (AFP) is investigating reports from Indonesia and Malaysia that foreign Islamic State terrorists have slipped into southern Philippines, especially Mindanao, The Manila Times Online reported on Wednesday (Jan 10).
Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Tuesday that the military had stepped up its monitoring in the south after they were told by Malaysia and Indonesia about the increased infiltration of foreign IS terrorists.
While saying that he could not confirm the reports, he admitted that there were home-grown terrorists there.
Earlier, Lorenzana said that the government was closely monitoring returning IS fighters from Iraq and Syria and preparing for their arrests.
AFP’s western Mindanao Command commander Lt-Gen Carlito Galvez Jr., meanwhile, downplayed the possibility of foreign terrorists entering the Philippines.
“I think they have already seen the result of the Marawi siege. So, it is a stern warning for them not to go there, he told the media.
More than 1,000 people, including terrorists, soldiers and civilians were killed during the five months of battle in Marawi City last year.