DND on lookout for increased ISIS threats
The Department of National Defense is not taking the threats of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) lightly and has assured that they are “constantly monitoring possible terror threats.”
This follows the warning of Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the US Pacific Command, that the Asia-Pacific region, including the Philippines, is at risk of attacks by the ISIS returning to their home countries as the terrorists are driven out of Iraq and Syria by US forces in continuing operations.
Several terrorist groups in the Philippines, such as the Abu Sayyaf and the Maute Group, have pledged allegiance to the ISIS.
In a statement on Friday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that as part of continuously addressing these threats, they have “instituted changes in the AFP leadership, placing people with extensive experience in the Central and Western Mindanao areas.”
This week, Western Mindanao Command installed its new commander, Maj, Gen. Carlito Galvez, a military officer with extensive experience in Western and Central Mindanao areas.
The Maguindanao-based 6th Infantry Division’s new commander is Brig. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, who has a background in leading Sulu and Central Mindanao areas.
Lorenzana also said that the military “has long standing instructions to intensify its intelligence gathering and counter-terrorism operations.”
The government is also working closely with Malaysia and Indonesia as these threats “cross borders.”
“That is why as early as July last year, we have already signed a trilateral defense cooperation agreement with Malaysia and Indonesia to strengthen our joint efforts in fighting terrorists, piracy and other crimes and strengthen security measures in common maritime areas,” the defense chief said.
They have also intensified their operations by strengthening naval and air assets for their anti-terrorism drive, he added. RAM/rga
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