The Daily Manila Shimbun


AFP “surprised” by Indonesia report on presence of 1,200 IS in Philippines

June 5, 2017

The Philippine military was "surprised" by the statement of Indonesian defense department there were 1,200 operatives of the Islamic State in the country. In the "Mindanao Hour" press briefing in Malacanang Monday, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said the Philippine government would be coordinating with Indonesia regarding its report. "The revelations of the Indonesian Defense Minister is something that came as a surprise to us because as was mentioned by senior defense officials, in truth, we don’t have those numbers," he said. Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said in a security forum in Singapore on Sunday there was information of the presence of 1,200 IS militants in the Philippines and 40 came from Indonesia. Padilla said the government would coordinate with Indonesia to check where it got the information. "We have diplomatic relations with Indonesia. We have military relations with their armed forces. So we will reach out, we will inquire, the possible sources of this information and how they may have come across it. Because for all we know, this may prove helpful in our campaign against all these terrorists or these criminals," he said. He said the military's estimate of ISIS-linked Maute Terror Group in Marawi was around 40, including eight foreigners who were killed. Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Palace could not make a comment on the specific number of alleged ISIS members who are in the Philippines. "But it is clear that the violence in Marawi is being waged by both Philippine and international criminals, and the southern part of Mindanao has long been used as a refuge by fugitives from justice, from Indonesia, Malaysia, and other locations," he said. (Celerina Monte/DMS)