MANILA -- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday called for a stronger international cooperation in the fight against terrorism, saying the victories against the Islamic State in Mosul, Raqqa and Marawi do not mean the group no longer poses a serious threat to the world.
“The defeat suffered by the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, and the Philippines does not mean the fight is over,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement a day after an Islamic State-inspired terrorist attack in New York killed eight people and seriously injured at least 11 others.
In his statement, Cayetano strongly condemned the truck attack in Manhattan on Wednesday, which authorities said was carried out by an Islamic State sympathizer from Uzbekistan.
He also expressed his sympathies to the families of the victims, which included five Argentines and one Belgian.
“The terrorist attacks in New York and other places abroad during the past several weeks tell us the threat remains real,” he said, as he called on the international community to intensify its efforts in going after the Islamic State and its affiliate organizations around the world.
Cayetano said the fight against terrorism is a key priority of President Rodrigo Duterte and is among the issues that would be discussed in the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and Related Meetings to be held in Manila this month.
“The Philippines is more than ready to do its share in helping make the world a safer place,” Cayetano affirmed, adding that Manila is looking forward to cooperating with other countries, particularly in intelligence sharing and capacity-building as part of the country’s counterterrorism efforts.
He also expressed his appreciation to the United States, Australia, China, Russia and other countries for the assistance extended to the Philippines during the campaign to liberate Marawi City from Islamic State-funded militants.
Recently, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres also underscored the importance of preventing terrorism by addressing its root causes and supporting its victims.
He said, “together with our international partners, we need to respond early and effectively in the cycle of conflict and radicalization and invest more in prevention.”
The Secretary-General also noted that the threat of terrorism is “real, complex and transnational,” and necessitates a response that “must be just as serious and shared.” (PNA)