Palace: PHL addressing terrorism through ‘whole system’ approach


MALACAÑANG said Thursday that the government is addressing the terrorist threat that Islamic State of Syria (Isis) poses to the Philippines through “whole system” approach. “First and foremost, we’ve been fighting terrorism in the Philippines for many years. A month and a half into his presidency, the President had already warned the military of what it turned to be the Isis disease,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella told a press conference. “What we’re doing is really, we’re confronting it, engaging the situation in the whole system approach,” he added. Abella issued the statement a day after the United States (US) State Department’s report showed that the Philippines is among the five countries that were most attacked by terrorists in 2016. The US State Department reported that around 104 countries were victims of terror attacks but the majority took place in five nations, including Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and the Philippines. Citing data from the University of Maryland, the report said there were a total of 11,072 terrorist attacks worldwide last year, which resulted in the deaths of more than 25,600 individuals, including the 6,700 perpetrators of the attacks. Mindanao, the southern region of the Philippines, was placed on May 23 under 60-day martial rule after Isis-inspired Maute militant group laid siege to Marawi City in an attempt to establish an enclave for Southeast Asian fighters. On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte asked Congress to extend martial law in the south until the end of December this year to “completely and totally” end the insurgency. The government said that as of July 19, around 421 Islamist gunmen, 99 government troops, and 45 civilians were killed in the armed conflict in Marawi City. Abella said the government is also considering poverty as among the factors that triggered other Moro people to join the force of the enemies. He thus said that a Comprehensive Peace Roadmap had been approved to achieve peace and order in the country. “We recognize that poverty in Mindanao and the sense of hopelessness. It brings [and] spawns terrorism. It is for this reason that while we are fighting terrorism, we are also fighting poverty,” Duterte’s spokesman said. “The President has already approved a Comprehensive Peace Roadmap, which aims to provide peace and development by addressing the issue on Bangsamoro,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)

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