Philippine President Says Willing To Open Borders to Fight Isis Militants in South
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday (September 3) he is willing to open the country's borders to Indonesia and Malaysia to fight Islamic State (ISIS) linked militants in the south.
Duterte told reporters one the sidelines of a party oath-taking ceremony that he will meet his Indonesian and Malaysian counterparts to discuss the creation of a task force against Islamist militants in the region, notorious for kidnappings, beheading and clashes with the military.
"In all probability, it will be a joint task force, and I will open my borders to the Malaysian authorities and the Indonesian authorities, and I am giving them access like if we're chasing someone and we're out of time, just take them out,” Duterte said. “Even if it's a Filipino, I'll tell the Indonesian navy 'take them out'"
Dozens are currently taking a last stand against the Philippine military in Marawi, more than three months after hundreds who pledged allegiance to ISIS occupied the southern city in May.
The conflict has claimed the lives of 620 militants, 45 civilians and 136 soldiers and policemen, has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and raised fears about ISIS establishing a foothold in Southeast Asia.