By Patricia Lourdes Viray
MANILA, Philippines — The Southeast Asia region must deepen counter-terror efforts as ISIS-inspired local terror groups lay siege in Mindanao, particularly in Marawi City, an analyst said.
Elliot Brennan, a research fellow at the Institute for Security and Development Policy's Asia Program in Sweden, said the siege in Marawi City must serve as a lesson for the whole region.
On May 23, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law and suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao following a clash between government forces and the Maute group.
Brennan noted that the failure of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to act on the Maute group's attack on Marawi despite intelligence report was negligent.
"Its failings since - such as to apprehend the Malay financier of the Marawi campaign, to stop the escape of Hapilon, or simply to quell the insurgency - show a worrying lack of capacity," Brennan said in an article published by Sydney-based Lowy Institute for International Policy.
The policy analyst noted that the fight in Marawi is not actually about the city since many of the militants and funding are from abroad, taking the conflict to a global narrative.
The key to addressing this issue on the regional level would be a disaggregation, delinking and dismantling of militants from around the world.
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