PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte warned Wednesday that the Islamic State terrorist threat will be a major problem three to seven years from now, noting that indoctrination has already begun in Mindanao.
Duterte’s remarks came a day after officials of the Department of Tourism confirmed that an IS-related group is planning to bomb the Miss Universe beauty contest to be held in the Philippines next year, describing the threat as “serious.”
“As I see it, three to seven years from now, we will have a problem with the ISIS. In some parts of Mindanao, there are white people–I suppose they are Arabs. They are here as missionaries. They don’t have arms. But they are into indoctrination. That’s what we should be scared of,” the President said in a speech before troops of the 1st Infantry Division in Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur.
He said the problem should be addressed before Mindanao gets contaminated with the “ISIS disease.”
“There’s something wrong with their minds–killing people unnecessarily, with no rhyme nor reason,” Duterte said.
On Monday, a pro-IS social media channel tracked by the terror-monitoring SITE Intelligence Group showed a video on how to “create a bomb for Miss Universe,” referring to the beauty pageant to be held in Manila in January 2017.
“We consider this as serious,” the Tourism Department said.
The threat would be referred to an intelligence group assigned to the pageant, Philippine National Police spokesman Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos said.
“That’s going to be looked at,” he said, without giving details.
Filipino Muslim militants operating in Mindanao have in recent years pledged allegiance to IS, though security officials and analysts said they were more focused on raising ransom from kidnappings than propagating an ideology.
Meanwhile, Duterte blamed the Mamasapano incident in 2015 to the greediness of some officials who were running after the $5-million bounty for the head of Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.
“What happened in Mindanao, it was a question of greed,” the President said.
At least 44 commandos of the PNP-Special Action Force were killed in Mamasapano, a carnage that Duterte vowed will never happen under his watch.
“These are the things that will not happen during my time. I will not allow another clumsy decision. It’s very stupid. You can count on me: I will not allow it to happen,” he said.
The Foreign Affairs Department, meanwhile, said it is ready to extend assistance to a Filipina who was arrested in Kuwait for allegedly pledging allegiance to the Islamic State.
Department spokesman Charles Jose confirmed the arrest but said the Kuwait authorities have yet to officially advise them of the arrest. With Sara Susanne D. Fabunan, AFP
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