Issue of September 17, 2017
Mt. Province

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Probe sought on harbored terrorists in Baguio City
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

The Cordillera Regional Peace and Order Council is verifying reports that some terrorists involved in the crisis in Marawi City have graduated from a school run by Muslims in Baguio City.

City Mayor Maurcio Domogan, concurrent RPOC chair, reported this possibility has been raised during the council’s meeting in Apayao on Sept. 7, where members were apprised by the National Commission for Muslim Filipinos Anti-Terrorism Council on the situation and the spread of terrorism not only in the Cordillera but all over the country, particularly involving radicalized Muslims and members of ISIS.

In his weekly media forum last Wednesday, Domogan said the city remains in close coordination with the Baguio Muslim community, whose leaders ensured that they are policing their ranks to assure that no individuals with motives to carry out terrorism will enter the city.

Although unverified, the mayor said the Baguio City Police Office through S/Supt. Ramil Saculles has been instructed to check the report that some of the terrorists involved in the ongoing Marawi insurgency crisis are graduates of a certain Muslim school in the city.

He said the police have been told to check by securing a list of the names of graduates of this school in coordination with the proper agency, and to continue engaging with the Muslim community on this issue. In their latest discussions, Domogan said those running the school said they will also do their own investigation.

Domogan reminded that these schools have long been existing since Muslims from the south started migrating in the city, such that it is also possible that the management of the school had no knowledge that some of those they enrolled have connections with terror groups.

The city is also dealing with the fact that Muslim schools in the city are not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or with the Commission on Higher Education and Department of Education, since such mode of teaching is part of a Muslim community program.

“In fairness to them, this is the first time there is such a report, which we still have to confirm. Until now, wala namang masamang insidenteng nangyari involving them,” he said.

Domogan added the country’s situation on terrorism was also discussed with U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim whose country has committed support in the country’s and global fight against terrorism, in a recent visit, as well as with a political counsellor from Indonesia, which is also doing similar efforts to stop the spread of terror acts in their country.

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