Duterte to ISIS: You might bring out the worst in me

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte warned terrorist groups, particularly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, that he too can play their "barbaric"game.

Duterte spoke of the atrocities committed by ISIS in the Middle East and Europe and his determination that such atrocities should not happen in the Philippines during a speech on Monday, August 15, in Malacañang Palace.

"We have seen a barbaric practice and even cutting the throats of people in front of the world. Hindi ko alam (I do not know) how to meet this kind of – If you do that, you also bring the worst out of me," he said during the oath-taking of government appointees.

"So bale, tabla tayo diyan (So we are equal on that front), because if you can do it, I can do it 10 times better than you, definitely," he added.

Before his warning, he gave an account of ISIS atrocities that show how far they have departed from any political or religious ideology.

"ISIS, they don't have any political ideology. They don't have any concept of what really God is. You maim people, you kill them, and women who refuse to have sex with them, they simply burn them," he said.

He warned terrorists not to go overboard with their violent activities.

"I'm just warning people na huwag ninyong sobrahan (don't go too far) because I would never, never, never allow my country to be destroyed by simply terrorism at itong droga (and drugs). Hindi talaga ako payag (I won't allow it)," he said.

Duterte's warning comes days after he claimed ISIS followers from another country have been visiting parts of Mindanao in order to radicalize Filipinos there.

Last June, men believed to be ISIS called on followers to go to the Philippines. Months before that, in February, ISIS recognized Philippines-based extremist groups including that led by Isnilon Hapilon, an Abu Sayyaf Group leader.

An exclusive Rappler report showed ISIS may have plans to declare a wilayat or province in Mindanao and that the group may have been behind killings in Basilan last April. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.