SECURITY ANALYST: Group pushing creation of ISIS-inspired “Islamic Emirate of the Philippines”

By ROGER M. BALANZA

National security analyst Rommel Banlaoi warned Mindanao-based Moro terrrist groups could be establishing an offspring of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the Philippines .

ISIS (now known as the Islamic State (IS) and Daesch in Arabic language), backed by local terrorist groups laid siege for five months in 2017 the Muslim city of Marawi in Southern Philippines before being defeated by government forces. The bloody siege killed more than a hundred civilians, policemen and soldiers with thousands fleeing the besieged city for safer grounds.

Bantaoi mentioned the possibility of the creation of the Islamic Emirate of the Philippines in a speech in Cebu City on Wednesday, March 16, wherein he  urged the security sector in the Visayan regions to be vigilant against threats of attacks by terrorist groups.

Banlaoi, in his speech as part of the celebration of the 34th founding anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Visayas Command (Viscom) on March 29, said terrorist organizations in Mindanao are still capable of staging terror attacks, citing incidents occurring even after the Marawi siege.

He said a social media account that promoted the creation of the Islamic Emirate of the Philippines called for support and donations when a certain group advocated the return of the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan.

“Terrorism in the Philippines is not disappearing. It is not disappearing because we have to understand terrorism in the Philippines in the context of our domestic security threats. Domestically, we have been experiencing prolonged internal armed conflict associated with communist rebellion initiated (and) led by the New People’s Army and Moro separatist group especially the Abu Sayyaf Group, the various factions of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and other pro-ISIS elements now operating in the Philippines,” he said.

Banlaoi warned of different ways of perpetrating terror attacks which may be carried out using an aerial drone, “lone wolf” suicide bomber, car bombs, and even animal bombs. With PNA report

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