Just like Barack Obama, the Aquino administration ‘ignored’ the threat posed by ISIS. This time, the consequences of this irresponsible ‘downplaying’ of this global crisis will surely blow out of proportion if Aquino will continue to dismiss the growing terrorism problem in his backyard.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the notorious ISIS leader vowed to expand his caliphate in all four corners of the world. Now, this goal of ISIS is slowly unfolding in front of our eyes.
Just a few days ago, Boko Haram pledged allegiance to ISIS. Prior to that, radical groups in various parts of the Middle East and Southeast Asia pledged allegiances to ISIS. The Philippines, among them. This is a clear signal that ISIS influence is starting to reach the corners of the world. Yet, the world leaders like Obama and Aquino remained impassive on this issue.
Reports of ISIS covert operations in Southern Mindanao, Philippines has been going on since 2014. It started when radical groups in Mindanao posted videos pledging their allegiances to the caliphate of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. That video was promoted by Musa Cerantonio –an ISIS proselytizer– who was at that time, detained in Bicutan Prison for charges of inciting terrorism in the country. A few months after, Bilal Philips –another ISIS propagandist– visited the country, most likely to follow up on Cerantonio’s activities prior to his deportation. It was also assessed by the Malaysian authorities that five of their most wanted terrorists are hiding in Southern Mindanao. Those terrorists were bomb makers/IED experts and recruiters of ISIS.
Why the Philippines?
Simple. Malaysia and Indonesia, in response to ISIS growing threat toughened their security and started cracking down on terrorist groups and ISIS supporters in their respective countries. The Philippines, on the other hand has been loose on their terrorism policy. Added to that is the fact that the country has been a support node for terrorists all this time. By logic, the Philippines is the most likely candidate for ISIS expansion program.
Let’s go back to the beheading of Peter Kassig in November 2014. One of the executioners in the video appeared to be a Filipino. But of course, the Philippine government was quick to dismiss the possibility without even checking with the Syrian government.
This is the alleged Filipino executioner in Peter Kassig and the 18 Syrian pilots’ beheading video. Is he not a Filipino? I beg to disagree.
Prior to that, plots to bomb major malls in Metro Manila, including the US Embassy in the name of ISIS was thwarted by the Philippine military. In January 2015, two separate attempts to assasinate the visiting Pope was also thwarted. One attempt was by a Filipino engineer who reportedly trained under ISIS for this sole purpose. He was apprehended in Tacloban City, days before the scheduled arrival of Pope Francis. Another plot was a plan to plant bombs in Kalaw Street where the Papal motorcade is scheduled to pass. This was planned by the late Marwan, a Jemaah Islamiya terrorist group that is affiliated to ISIS and was listed among the US international terrorist organizations.
These should sound the alarm in the Philippine government but, just like Obama and his Iran Nuclear deal, Aquino is more focused on his signature policy –the Bangsamoro Basic Law. The irony of his policy is that, he was too ignorant and blind to see that the MILF is just a front for the BIFF’s –an MILF faction that recently pledged allegiance to ISIS– intentions to rule Mindanao and establish a caliphate there. I personally think any terrorist group must not be trusted to follow a peace deal. Once a traitor, always a traitor. Unfortunately, the Aquino administration is so naive to acknowledge a problem even if it’s already in front of them.
The storm is brewing in the horizon but, the world leaders –in their mad pursuit of their personal agendas– has remained deaf to the sound of the whirling tornado of the apocalypse that will soon sweep the peaceful countries off their feet.