MANILA -- Malacañang on Wednesday hailed the inclusion of Maute Group in the US Treasury Department’s sanctions list for global terrorism saying it reaffirms that the Philippine-based terror group indeed received assistance from foreign extremists.
The Treasury announced on its website that its Office of Foreign Assets Control included the Maute Group, also known as the Islamic State of Lanao, on its sanctions list on Tuesday (Philippine time).
“The official designation of the Maute Group as an affiliate group of ISIS and its inclusion in the US list of foreign terrorist organizations are positive developments in the campaign against terrorism,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said in a statement sent to media.
“This reaffirms our long-held belief that the Maute Group is composed of local terrorists aided by foreign extremists,” he added.
Roque said the inclusion of the Maute Group in the sanctions list also recognized the Philippine government’s action to liberate Marawi City from terrorists.
“This likewise recognizes the decisive action we have taken in liberating Marawi from these terrorists, which resulted in the success of the government in thwarting the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in the area and the containing of the rebellion from spreading to other parts of the Philippines,” Roque said.
Moreover, he said that it also showed the solidarity and resolve of the international community to “flush out evil forces to make the world safe and secure.”
On May 23, 2017, government forces clashed with Maute Group in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur following reports that armed men have taken over a hospital, replacing the Philippine flag with a black flag, supposedly representing the Islamic State.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte immediately declared martial law in Mindanao and has twice requested for an extension.
The Congress has granted Duterte's request to extend martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2018. (PNA)