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PH not doing enough to curtail ISIS threat – report

ISIS (Photo courtesy of Mail Online)

ISIS (Photo courtesy of Mail Online)

The Philippine government is not doing  enough to curtail the radical threat of ISIS ( Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) in the country, according to an Asian based consultancy and risk analysis company.

In a report, the Intelligent  Security  Solutions  (ISS  Risk) report said that the Philippines will soon find itself emerging as the epicenter of Islamic extremism in Southeast Asia if the government underestimates the influence of ISIS.

It added that the headquarters for the jihadist militant group ISIS in the region could also be put up in the country.

“One of the major issues in the Philippines is the underestimation of the influence of  ISIS, illustrated by the labelling of local extremist networks as  ‘criminal gangs’ or bandits,’ rather  than  Islamic extremists,” the  independent  political  risk  research group said.

The report noted that the Philippine government is “not doing nearly enough to curtail the radical threat of ISIS or, more generally, terrorism  in  the  country. ”

If the status quo  continues, ISS Risk predicted that the circumstances in the Philippines will align with ISIS ambitions, allowing the terrorist group to foster a thriving epicenter for regional operations.

This “underestimation,” the report said, has resulted to the establishment of training camps for Southeast Asian terrorist groups in Southern Philippines. The country has also become the major transit hub for those traveling to Syria.

“Unfortunately, without proper recognition  of the issue by the Filipino government,  terrorist activities will only continue to escalate,” ISS Risk pointed out.

It said the next few months will essentially determine the future of terrorism and the capacity of ISIS in the Philippines.

According to the ISS Risk report, the state of the situation  is dependent upon the outcome of two major occurrences: the results of the election and the status of  the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

“The outcome of the election may usher in a new government with greater concern for and capacity to confront the growing terrorism problem across the country,” it said. “Conversely, it could  usher  in a  new  leader  that  maintains  the  status  quo  of  inactively addressing  the situation for another 6 years.”

The report emphasized that the result of the elections ties directly to the second major outcome, which is the passing, postponement,  or rejection  of  the  BBL.

Should  the proposed law pass,  ISS Risk pointed out that Islamic separatism  and Islamic fundamentalism will be pitched against each other, slowing down the aspirations of ISIS  in  the  country.

“If  it does not pass, the unchanged  dynamic  will  perpetuate circumstances that allow ISIS to operate and thrive in the area,” it warned.