President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday said the Philippines will not be able to eliminate terror group Islamic State during his remaining years in office.
"Ever since, we have never gone past that huge barrier. And I do not think that I would be able to solve it during the last remaining three years of my term," Duterte said at the PDP-Laban campaign rally in Cagayan de Oro City.
The President however said he is "trying" to reduce the threat of ISIS to the "barest minimum possible."
The New York Times reported early this month that the Philippines was tipped to become an emerging base for international terror group ISIS, which recently lost all the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria.
According to The Times, ISIS has "attracted a range of militant jihadists" in Mindanao, where Marawi City is located, the site of a five-month gun battle between ISIS sympathizers and government troops in 2017.
Reacting to the report, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on March 12 that the Philippine government should undertake measures to prevent ISIS from establishing a base in the country.
Duterte said ISIS fighters possess a "totally corrupt ideology."
"They would kidnap and at the end of the day, even if the ransom has been paid, they would still slit the victim’s throat and record it," he said.
He also said the notorious Abu Sayyaf group took inspiration from ISIS.
"We also have a problem in the South, the Abu Sayyaf. They are really patterned after the ISIS. If not, it is really the ISIS who are there. It’s a violent world. There are bombings everywhere, even inside the church. There are plenty of massacres too," he said. —KBK, GMA News