The Daily Manila Shimbun


ASG leader Hapilon is ISIS top honcho in Philippines, says Duterte

January 30, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte identified Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon as the "top honcho" of the international terror group Islamic State in the Philippines.

In a press conference in Malacanang late Sunday night, the Chief Executive said, "Hapilon was already given the blessing to be the leader of ISIS."

But he was not sure if Hapilon's leadership covers Indonesia and Malaysia.

"But he's the top honcho of ISIS. He's billeted in Lanao (del Sur)," he said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has said that Hapilon was severely injured in the military operations in Butig, Lanao del Sur last week.

Duterte noted that the "greatest danger now that mankind is facing is extemism."

He admitted that the terrorists might again launch an attack, similar to the bombing in a night market in Davao City in September last year where 14 people were killed and scores wounded.

"They did it several times in my city, the latest was in the flea market vending in front of Ateneo (de Davao). So that to me is the more dangerous thing for us and I have ordered a full military operation...they're desperate enough that they will resume bombing," the President said.

Duterte said he ordered the military to make sure that the firefight with the terrorists would be contained in Lanao del Sur alone.

"I hope that it won't escalate in other areas," he said.

"I have also asked the armed forces to use all available assets and all the weaponry at our disposal," Duterte said, adding that he would ask China to assist the Philippines through a loan to purchase precision guided firearms for the AFP. Celerina Monte/DMS