DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/26 August) – City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte has denied categorically linking a group of Filipino Muslims, among them Davao citizens, to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Speaking to reporters Monday night at the Grand Men Seng Hotel, Duterte said the raw intelligence he received from an unnamed source only said there were people who were going to the Middle East to take part in a war.
But he clarified he did not say they were going to train with ISIS.
The mayor added the Armed Forces of the Philippines still did not have the details regarding the report and was still validating the information.
“Let me be clear, because Manila is also bound to misconstrue,” Duterte said. “I said na may nagbulong sa akin dito … na may mga young muslims na pupunta ng Middle East kasi makipagsapalaran sa giyera.”
“I did not say that they will join ISIS. I just said na takot ako na mapunta doon,” he added.
Duterte reiterated that what he feared was the scenario of the young Muslims bringing back to the city a “technology of terror”.
“Pag inimport iyon, medyo magkakaproblema tayo,” he said.
“Whatever your religion may be, whether you’re a Jew or Christian or Muslim, you will not kill innocent people,” he said in reaction to reports the ISIS had killed civilians who were not combatants.
Last Sunday, Duterte was quoted as saying at his weekly television show Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa that he was “sad that Filipinos could get into danger for whatever the reason.”
This came after he was asked to comment on raw intelligence from former president Fidel V. Ramos that around 100 Filipino Muslims were allegedly being recruited into the ISIS.
“Whatever happens, these are still Filipinos, that is why we worry about them,” Duterte said.
The mayor added that if the Filipinos would train with ISIS they would take home with them the technology used in terrorism, citing what happened with the Taliban who were trained by the Central Intelligence Agency during the Cold War.
“I’m not condemning anybody here,” he said, adding, “I pity those who go there who want to be martyrs for a cause.”
He said the AFP did not confirm the report of former president Fidel V. Ramos.
He added the situation “was not really a secret.” (MindaNews)