Foreign terrorists are attempting to enter the country despite the strict security measures being implemented in the tri-boundary of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Friday.
Eight out of 10 foreign terrorists who were monitored to have entered the Philippines have been tracked in Central Mindanao, AFP Western Mindanao Command spokesperson Col. Gerry Besana said.
This developed as President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday urged graduates of the Philippine National Police Academy to contribute to the administration’s war against illegal drugs, terrorism, and corruption.
“I enjoin our fresh graduates to support and contribute to the administration’s fight against illegal drugs, terrorism and corruption. Now, more than ever, the Philippines needs optimistic and brave men and women like you who have the qualities to be effective and efficient public servants,” Duterte said in his speech during the PNPA’s 40th Commencement Exercises for “Sansiklab” Class of 2019 in Silang, Cavite.
Also on Friday, the PNP said it would continue to monitor and gather intelligence about “enemies of the state,” amid accusations from leftist groups that the police were red tagging them and engaging in partisan politics.
Besana said the AFP is closely coordinating with its counterparts abroad over the possible entry of foreign terrorists through Philippine airports and backdoor channels.
“We do not discount the possibility that they might use our airport here. How will you know that people sitting or standing beside you is a terrorist? Not unless he is holding a gun, carrying explosives or anything that will also indicate that he is a terrorist,” he said.
Five of the terrorists being tracked have been identified, Besana said, including Iraqi national Abdul Rahman—who allegedly brought an Islamic State flag in the country—along with two Indonesian nationals and a Singaporean named Mauwiya.
Mauwiya is believed to be a protegé of Zulkilfli Binhir alias Marwan, the Indonesian terrorist killed by PNP Special Action Force commandos during the controversial Mamasapano encounter in January 2015.
“We’ve been trying to account all of them, but, of course, as I’ve said, it is so hard. Nobody can tell who the terrorist is if they simply pose as ordinary people, not unless those are high-value targets reported by our foreign counterparts,” Besana said.
Meanwhile, the President told PNPA graduates to uphold integrity, patriotism, and compassion in their work as public servants.
“As you leave the halls of the academy, bring with you the principles of integrity and loyalty as well as the values of patriotism and compassion that your alma mater has instilled in you. These will serve as your guideposts as you perform your duty to our people and nation,” he told the PNPA graduates.
“Never be deceived by power nor by fame. What is important is that you honor, for it is your badge towards genuine success,” he added.
Duterte vowed to support the programs of the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
The ceremony had 201 graduates who earned their Bachelor of Science in Public Safety degree from the PNPA.
PNP spokesperson Colonel Bernard Banac said the police monitoring was aimed at maintaining peace and order.
“Ironically, these shadowy organizations are taking advantage of our democratic processes and built-in institutions to establish a foothold in the… legislative branch of government,” he said.
“It is the duty of the PNP to keep the public informed on matters of public safety and security against terrorist organization and domestic threat groups, including the support systems that sustain their terrorist activities,” Banac added.
In Aparri, the Gabriela party-list said state agents, in full combat gear, were taking pictures of their campaign activities and were distributing leaflets bearing photos of leftist party-list candidates with captions telling people not to vote for them and branding them the enemies of the government.
Meanwhile, detained Senator Leila de Lima accused the President of giving terrorists a platform by appeasing Moro National Liberation Front leader Nur Misuari.
“This is what Duterte is doing now to Nur Misuari. Misuari is nothing more than a criminal under the protection and patronage of Duterte,” she said.
“Have we forgotten how Misuari ordered the hostile takeover of Zamboanga City, which claimed the lives of many Filipinos? Do they not deserve justice for the atrocities Misuari and his men committed?” she asked.
She said Misuari now roams around, scot-free, without even a hint of remorse or regret for the lives they destroyed in their failed attempt at rebellion.
She said this is all because Duterte refuses to serve the arrest warrants that would force him to face the charges against him. With PNA