14 April 2016
On the same day the group claimed responsibility for the April 9 clash in Basilan that killed at least 19 soldiers, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin maintained on Thursday, April 13, that there is “no formalized” Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL or Da’esch) organization in the Philippines.
Gazmin made the statement in a joint press conference with US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter at the Premier Guest House in Malacañang. Both defense chiefs were asked if their governments had verified the ISIS claim, if this meant there was an ISIS base in the Philippines, and its impact on regional security.
“The [Abu Sayyaf] group in Basilan is trying to organize and be affiliated with ISIS but our information says that there is no ISIS [here] or formalized organization here in the Philippines,” Gazmin said.
… Rappler reported that the Basilan incident was the first major attack of ISIS in the Philippines. Rohan Gunaratna, head of Singapore’s International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, told Rappler. “The group responsible is the Islamic State, led by Isnilon Hapilon in the Philippines,”
The Philippine military has consistently denied ISIS’ presence here despite our previous reports on it. Military spokesmen have stressed the “difference between ISIS-directed and ISIS-inspired.”
GPO / ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 15/04/2016