By Francis Wakefield
The military on Tuesday said that it was confirming reports coming from the Philippine National Police (PNP) that about 40 foreign terrorists have already entered the country via the southern backdoor.
In a press briefing, AFP spokesman and concurrent Civil Relations Service (CRS) chief Brig. Gen. Bienvenido Datuin Jr., said that it was closely monitoring the situation to verify the PNP report.
“Wala pa, wala pa (None, none yet) tayong confirmed dito. We are awaiting reports from ground commanders regarding this matter,” Datuin told reporters.
“We are closely monitoring this dahil napakalaki ng ating coastal waters sa ating area (our coastal area is big),” he added.
Datuin said forces in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)-Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom), specifically the First Infantry Division, were closely the guarding coastal waters, southern borders to ensure that Mindanao is shielded from terrorists.
“And these are things that we are working together with the PNP and Philippine Coast Guard but we have established conventions, we have established agreements trilateral bilateral joint patrols with Malaysia, Indonesia just to secure our waters,” he said.
“So tuloy tuloy ang ating monitoring and we are not letting up in so far as entirety our frontiers,” Datuin added.
Datuin also pointed out that the AFP was already studying the pattern on how the reported recruitment was being undertaken by the Maute terror group.
“So we are studying the patterns and style the psychology of violent extremism and of course our programs to avoid the repeat of the Marawi siege,” he said.