By Martin Sadongdong
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa has allayed fears of possible recruitment of terrorists in Metro Manila. However, Dela Rosa admitted that remnants of the ISIS-inspired terror groups that staged the Marawi City siege last year are trying to regroup and replenish their depleted supply and human resource.
“We cannot really say if there is already an on-going recruitment here [in Metro Manila]. As of now, no recruitment is being monitored but in Mindanao, we know that they are conducting recruitment activities within their communities,” dela Rosa said.
With this, dela Rosa said that they must double their counter-terrorism efforts to thwart any possible attack and prevent the terror groups from regrouping and possibly, staging another wide-scale attack as destructive as the Marawi City siege.
“The mere fact that there is an on-going recruitment means that they are planning to launch a counter-attack. However, I tell you, it will take time for them to regroup and to retrain themselves because a lot of their members were killed and many of their equipment were destroyed,” he said.
“As far as the desire [to launch a counter-attack], it has always been in their [terrorists] minds. But as to the time table, it will take a very long time,” he added.
Dela Rosa assured that intelligence operatives, from the police, military and the local and civilian government agencies, are doing the best they can to secure not only the Metro Manila and Mindanao, but the whole country.
He also encouraged the public to show their “love” for the country by being vigilant and helping the authorities in their counter-terrorism efforts.
“If you love this country you should cooperate with the government,” dela Rosa said.
It can be recalled that joint police and military operations led to the arrest of a Maute Group sub-leader in Tondo, Manila, last Saturday.
Abdul Nasser Lomondot, 41, was arrested together with his wife, Raisalam, 33, along Recto Avenue in after seeking refuge with their relatives.