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Army insists no confirmed ISIS presence in Central Mindanao

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao, July 11 -- Military authorities in Central Mindanao and two provinces of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) have been placed on heightened alert against all kinds of threats, including the threat from international terror groups.

However, according to 6th Infantry Division spokesperson Capt. Joann Petinglay, there is no presence of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the division's area of jurisdiction.

"We have not confirmed presence of ISIS or international terror groups," Petinglay said in a TV interview. "What we have are local armed groups that pledge allegiance to ISIS but these groups were not recognized."

Davao City security sectors have been on red alert status after City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, now the acting mayor, made public a military intelligence reports of possible ISIS attacks or ISIS-like strikes.

Petinglay said while there was no confirmed ISIS presence in the 6th ID's jurisdiction in the provinces of Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato and parts of Lanao del Sur, the Army and other security sectors are not lowering its guards.

"There are always threats of lawlessness but your military is ready," she said, even as she appealed for public support.

The 6th ID, headed by Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, has under its administrative and operational jurisdiction three Army brigades, a Marine brigade, Philippine Air Force and a battalion of Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) as well as other support units in helping the local police forces in maintaining law and order.

Pangilinan is also banking on the support of local government units in Maguindanao, North Cotabato and Lanao del Sur in securing its people.

In recent statement, Pangilinan lauded the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for the support it has been providing to the security sector. He attributed the prevailing peace and order in the 6th ID coverage to the existing ceasefire agreement between government and the MILF.

Based on the military's assessment, the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters have been reduced to small groups that has no capacity to face the military might in Maguindanao. (PNA)
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