President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, August 5, admitted that he has been praying to God to spare the Philippines from possible attacks by the Islamic State (ISIS).
According to him, the thought of the extremist group harming the country makes him nervous. He said he is afraid that a lot of Filipino will lose their lives if ISIS enters the Philippines.
“Meron po akong ISIS at ito yung nagbibigay sa akin ng kaba talaga. I am not a person easily swayed itong mga dito, but… nakikita naman niyo, nababasa naman ninyo — CNN, you go to YouTube, wherever you are — makita ninyo ngayon (I’m still thinking about ISIS and that makes me nervous. I am not a person who is easily swayed but you see what’s happening on CNN or on YouTube, wherever you are),” said Duterte in a speech in Malacañang Monday evening.
“Ang tinatakutan ko yung (What I’m scared of is)… just like Iraq, Syria na maraming inosenteng taong nadadali (where a lot of innocent people died). Talagang ako’y nagdarasal, I’m praying, I really pray, talagang lumuluhod ako sa Diyos na (I really kneel in front of God) to spare us the kind of brutality and cruelty in our country because it will really be bloody. Bloody as it can ever be,” he added.
However, Duterte assured that he will not go down without fighting.
“Ayaw kong mag-umpisa. Ayaw ko naman sa panahon ko na gagawin mo sa akin ‘yan. Do it some other time pero ‘wag sa akin. Hindi talaga ako papayag at hindi ako magpalugi (I don’t want to start it. I don’t want it to happen within my term because I will not allow it and I will not go down without a fight),” he stated.
Threats of Islamic State militants began when local terror group Maute pledged allegiance to ISIS and laid siege to Marawi City. The attack led Duterte to declare Martial law in Mindanao on May 23, 2017.
Over the weekend, a supposed leaked alert memo issued to intelligence units in Northern Luzon ordered intelligence units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)-Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) to confirm a report on a “Crusader City” in their area of operation that are “being targeted for terror attack.”
A crusader city, according to the memo, is a term used by ISIS to describe a “target area” to fuel a supposed war between Muslims and Christians.
The AFP, for its part, clarified Monday that there were no verified terror attacks in cities in Northern Luzon. It added that the memo was authentic but it contained raw information.