The Philippine military said Monday it was checking reports that some Filipino Muslims were training with the so-called Israeli State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq.
The Filipinos allegedly left the country in July, according to Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of the southern city of Davao, where some of the recruits came from.
Former president Fidel Ramos said last week that about 100 Filipinos were training to be terrorists in Syria.
“I will validate that and take a careful look if there is basis to that so that we can take appropriate action,” said Major General Eduardo Ano, an army division commander.
“I will ask our intelligence units to check, to verify if that information is valid.”
Local militant group Abu Sayyaf, which has been linked to the international al-Qaeda network, have pledged allegiance to the ISIL via videos posted on the internet.
The military previously denied reports about Filipinos being recruited by the ISIL terrorist group.
The number of ISIL Takfiri militants fighting against the Syrian government amounts to more than 50,000, says the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The NGO said earlier that the terrorists managed to recruit 6,000 militants in the past month alone.
The observatory’s director, Rami Abdel Rahman, said there were at least 20,000 non-Syrians among the terrorists.
The observatory also said there were 1,000 foreign militants among the raw recruits mostly from Chechnya, Europe, Arab countries, and China.
Most of the militants had entered via Turkey, Abdel Rahman said, adding that other recruits joined the ISIL from foreign-backed opposition groups, including 200 from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front that initially cooperated with ISIL.
The ISIL terrorists currently control a swathe of eastern Syria and western Iraq.