Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has recently revealed that he has cousins who may have already joined the international terrorist group ISIS.
In an interview with local news site Rappler, the tough-talking president pledged that he would take them on if they happen to meet “in a corner.”
“To be frank, I have cousins on the other side, with MI and MN. Some, I heard, are with ISIS,” he was quoted as saying, also referring to rebel groups (MI) Moro Islamic Liberation Front and (MN) Moro National Liberation Front.
Noting that ISIS “seems to be everywhere,” Duterte vowed to take action if he happens to come across his relatives who had joined ISIS-linked groups.
In recent months, the country has seen a series of terrorist attacks. Back in September, a bomb attack in a night market in Duterte’s hometown Davao, Philippines resulted in several injuries and deaths of fourteen people. Two separate bomb attacks in Mindanao and Leyte on the same day in December injured at least 33 people.
“I said, let’s be understanding to each other. You are you and I am I, and I said, if we meet in one corner, so be it,” Duterte said, as translated by the news site.
Philippine soldiers are currently on the offensive against the Maute Group and the Abu Sayyaf. The two local terrorist groups recently claimed to have pledged allegiance to ISIS.
Duterte has previously stated that some international followers of ISIS have already reached Mindanao, Philippines to indoctrinate young Filipino Muslims.
In November last year, Duterte proclaimed that if Islamic State comes to the Philippines, he is ready to forego human rights in order to keep his people safe.
“Remember, these guys, they do not have an iota of what is human rights, believe me. I will not just simply allow my people to be slaughtered for the sake of human rights, that’s bullshit,” he said.