By Ian Nicolas P. Cigaral

Duterte: Local extremist groups competing over ISIS recognition

Posted on January 10, 2017

AMID reported terror threats from Muslim insurgents in Mindanao while the country is under a state of lawlessness, President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday said the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) ideology “is here to stay” as local extremists vie for the militant group’s recognition.

Mr. Duterte reaffirmed this terror situation in his speech during Monday’s oathtaking ceremony of 220 newly-appointed officials of government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs) and national agencies at Malacañang, scheduled before a Cabinet meeting that afternoon.

“(The problem here now is) ISIS and we have been debating [that] for so long. But we are now one of the opinion in the Cabinet that the ISIS ideology is here to stay,” Mr. Duterte said.

He said local terrorist groups “are competing for recognition” by ISIS by “outdoing each other in brutality.”

“The more brutal you are in raising the ideology, the more credentials that you may have for a recognition,” Mr. Duterte said.

The Maute group -- blamed for a foiled bombing late last year outside the US Embassy in Manila and the reported ambush of the presidential advance party in Lanao del Sur also last year -- is one of several armed Islamist organizations in Mindanao which have pledged allegiance to ISIS.

Before leaving the town of Butig, following prolonged military operations, the Maute group left a message on a blackboard, threatening to behead Mr. Duterte and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Meanwhile, a faction of the Abu Sayyaf, notorious mainly for its kidnap-for-ransom operations, has also associated itself with ISIS.