MANILA – The Philippine government lauded on Wednesday the United States decision to include on the terrorist list the Maute group, which laid a partial siege to the city of Marawi last year leaving more than 1,000 people dead.
“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, said in a statement.
The measure “showed the solidarity and resolve of the international community to flush out evil forces to make the world safe and secure,” Roque added.
The US Department of State on Tuesday designated seven groups as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT).
That designation includes the IS-West Africa, IS-Bangladesh, IS-Philippines, IS-Somalia, IS-Egypt, Maute Group and Jund al-Khilafah-Tunisia.
Philippine Defense Department spokesperson, Arsenio Andolong, said inclusion of local terror groups on the list would make it difficult for them to carry out their activities in the Philippines and abroad.
“The groups’ property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction are blocked,” the US State Department said in a statement.
“In addition, it is a crime to knowingly provide, or attempt or conspire to provide, material support or resources to the organizations” designated as SDGT, added the statement.
The Marawi conflict, which began on May 23, 2017 and ended in October, was led by the Maute Group, an organization linked to the IS, with support of local and foreign fighters.
Over the five-month period, the violence devastated the city of Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao and killed 920 insurgents, 165 soldiers and 47 civilians.
The insurgents, who had raised black IS flags, relied on, according to intelligence information, abundant resources and time to plan what has happened to be the biggest armed conflict during the last few decades in the Philippines.