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P10-M reward for Hapilon; P10M for 2 Maute brothers

Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año said yesterday that President Duterte has offered a P10-million bounty for the neutralization of the taunted emir of the Islamic State in the Philippines, Isnilon Hapilon.

Duterte also offered R5 million each for the neutralization of the leaders of the Maute Group, brothers Abdullah and Omar.

“The President is offering P10-million reward money for the neutralization of Isnilon Hapilon who is believed to be leading the terrorist Maute-ISIS group in attacking Marawi City,” Año said.

Año said the amount will be over and above the $5-million bounty offered by the US government on Hapilon’s head.

Hapilon, a senior leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group, has an outstanding warrant of arrest for kidnapping with ransom and serious illegal detention. He also has a P7.4-million standing bounty from the Philippine government.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines welcomes the pronouncement of President Duterte. We hope that this will bear significant accomplishments leading to the eventual arrest and neutralization of Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute Brothers,” Año said.

Meanwhile, the military was surprised and plans to coordinate with Indonesia about its report on the presence of 1,200 Islamic State militants in the country.

Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the country has defense cooperation ties with the Indonesia to address the reported threat posed by foreign militants.

“This needs to be subjected to inquiry on the other side, kung saan nakuha ng Indonesia so we may address this because we have networks with the nations who are fighting against terrorism,” Padilla said during the Mindanao Hour briefing in Malacañang.

“We will reach out, we will inquire, the possible sources of this information and how they may have come across it because for all we know, this may prove helpful in our campaign against all these terrorists or these criminals,” he added.

Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu on Sunday announced there are around 1,200 IS operatives in the Philippines, including 40 from Indonesia, amid the ongoing siege in Marawi City. The Indonesian official called for intensified regional cooperation to curb the terror threat. (Francis T. Wakefield and Genalyn D. Kabiling)