Army: ISIS uses ‘sleeper cells’ in PH

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The ISIS may have had sleeper cells in several parts of the Philippines during the Marawi siege in Mindanao, the head of the Philippine Army said.

Army commander Lt. General Rolando Joselito Bautista disclosed this at a forum in Iloilo City, citing information and documents seized during the siege.

“We have documents and even testimonies of Maute-ISIS Group in the Marawi conflict that there are lots of ISIS sleeper cells in the different parts of the country,” he said (

He added that during the Marawi siege, the terrorist group in Marawi City called on the sleeper cells nationwide “to conduct sabotage and other terroristic activities just to ease the pressure in Marawi City.”

“There’s really a threat in the different parts of the country like Davao City, Cagayan de Oro City, even at the National Capital Region, Cebu City, Iloilo City, among others,” he said.

Bautista led AFP troops in carrying out offensives against the ISIS-inspired Maute Group in Marawi. The clash went on from May to October 2017.

A sleeper cell is a secret group of spies or terrorist agents that stay inactive until ordered to act.

In Iloilo, Bautista said they monitored one or two groups, but did not make clear if these were natives or from other areas.

For his part, Brig. Gen. Pio Diñoso, commander of the Army’s 301st Infantry Brigade, said the threats have waned since the Mautes were defeated.

On a scale of 1 to 5 with five being the highest, he said that the threat level is at Number 2.