MANILA -- The United States decision to designate ISIS Philippines and the Maute Group as "Specially Designated Global Terrorists" (SDGTs) will greatly assist the Philippines in its ongoing anti-terrorism campaign.
This was emphasized by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bienvenido Datuin in a message Wednesday.
"Such declaration from foreign countries will of course invariably help us in many ways in our fight against local terrorists and their foreign cohorts. Specific advantage on such declaration/list is the checking of money trail, financial sources, logistics lines and conduits of terror groups in foreign countries that may have connections with local violent extremists," he added.
Earlier, the US State Department has designated the ISIS Philippines, ISIS West Africa and ISIS Bangladesh as "SDGTs" under Section 1 (b) of Executive Order 13224 as "Foreign Terrorist Organizations" pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Also tagged as "SDGTs" are ISIS-Somalia, Jund al-Khilafah-Tunisia, ISIS-Egypt, and the Maute Group.
With this development, American nationals or citizens are prohibited from transacting with the above-mentioned groups while their properties or holdings in the US are blocked.
Also, Datuin said that such declaration falls within the right of the US as well as every government in the world to distinguish such groups as may be provided by the law in a particular country. His views were shared by Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Arsenio Andolong.
"The inclusion of the Maute Group and ISIS Philippines in the US list of foreign terrorist organizations is an affirmation of what Philippine authorities already know - that the Maute Group and the Dawlah-Islamiya are terrorist groups that need to be dealt with decisively using the full force of the law," he added.
With this development, these terror organizations will be denied access to the US financial system and will face sanctions as may be deemed appropriate, making it more difficult for them to conduct their activities in the Philippines and abroad, Andolong stressed. (PNA)