Calida: ISIS eyeing Mindanao as Asian base
MANILA, Philippines – The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has chosen Mindanao as its “epicenter” on its plan to establish control in East Asia, Solicitor General Jose Calida told the Supreme Court Tuesday.
During the oral argument questioning the legality of the third martial law extension in Mindanao, Associate Justice Rosmari Carandang asked Calida to confirm reports that ISIS has chosen the Philippines, specifically Mindanao, and not the other Muslim countries in Asia, referring to Malaysia and Indonesia as its center.
Calida answered in the affirmative.
“In fact, ISIS already admitted its complicity in the Jolo bombing,” Calida told the court.
Calida added that making Mindanao its center in Southeast Asia is part of ISIS’ plan.
“They want to control not only the Middle East countries but they want to spread up to Southeast Asia,” Calida said.
He explained that the jihadist group has chosen Mindanao because 23 factions have pledged allegiance to ISIS.
Calida added that the group preferred Mindanao because it can easily penetrate the “backdoor.”
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said that as early as June 2016, there were already several groups that have pledged allegiance to ISIS.
“But there are certain conditions before ISIS could recognize a Daulah Islamiyah and one of them is there must be one total organization with one leader. With [Isnilon] Hapilon as the leader and establishing a base in Lanao del Sur, the ISIS Mindanao was affiliated with its ISIS in Syria,” Año said.
He added that the group has managed to gather members targeting young Muslims. /gsg/ac
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.