Mil­i­tary seeks funds to fight pro-IS mil­i­tants

Bangkok Post - - ASEAN -

MANILA: The Philip­pine mil­i­tary yes­ter­day called for more funds to root out pro-Is­lamic State (IS) mil­i­tants, more than three months into a deadly of­fen­sive cost­ing the gov­ern­ment more than US$50 mil­lion (around 1.7 bil­lion baht) and dev­as­tat­ing a south­ern city.

The cri­sis in Marawi city has posed a se­ri­ous threat to the gov­ern­ment of Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte, who has de­ployed thou­sands of troops and im­posed mar­tial law across the south­ern third of the coun­try.

Nine days ago Duterte de­clared the bat­tle was in its “fi­nal stages”. But his gov­ern­ment re­vealed yes­ter­day the de­fence depart­ment has asked Congress for a sup­ple­men­tal bud­get for the cam­paign.

“The cash regis­ter is click­ing daily as the fight­ing goes on, and this will be costly for our gov­ern­ment,” mil­i­tary spokesman Brig Gen Resti­tuto Padilla said. “This is why our gov­ern­ment has seen it fit to pro­vide the armed forces of the Philip­pines ad­di­tional funds to al­low us to se­cure the things we will need to fin­ish this fight.”

He said gov­ern­ment forces had spent three bil­lion pe­sos (about 2 bil­lion baht) so far and needed more than a bil­lion pe­sos to re­plen­ish mu­ni­tions, fuel, and other ma­te­ri­als in the war ef­fort. He gave no time frame for the mil­i­tary cam­paign.

The fight­ing be­gan at the end of May af­ter a foiled at­tempt to ar­rest Is­nilon Hapi­lon, who is on Amer­ica’s list of most wanted ter­ror­ists with a $5 mil­lion bounty and is said to be the leader of the IS in South­east Asia.

Hun­dreds of armed mil­i­tants, in­clud­ing for­eign fight­ers, went on a shoot­ing, burn­ing and loot­ing rampage across Marawi, tak­ing hostages in­clud­ing a Catholic pri­est. The mil­i­tary said the raid caused the mil­i­tants to pre­ma­turely im­ple­ment a plot to seize Marawi and turn it into an IS caliphate in the south of the mainly Catholic na­tion.

The fight­ing has left 651 mil­i­tants, 45 civil­ians and 145 sol­diers and po­lice dead, with nearly half a mil­lion res­i­dents of Marawi and nearby homes forced to flee, the gov­ern­ment said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Thailand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.