Duterte: Terrorism in PH funded by drug money

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President Duterte speaks before newly appointed government officials on Thursday.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 1) - President Rodrigo Duterte said the illegal drug trade fuels local terror groups' activities.

Drug manufacturers have been working in tandem with terror groups in the country, the President said Wednesday,  speaking at the 119th Philippine Navy Anniversary Celebration in Davao City.

"Hinayaan kasi natin ang droga [We let it thrive]. So there was a time and until now that the terrorism activities in the Philippines is funded and fueled by drug money," Duterte said. 

Marawi City, which is now into its second week of fighting between the Maute group and government troops, is a "bedrock" for shabu manufacturing, he added.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday also confirmed the Maute group's involvement in drugs.

Lorenzana mentioned an unnamed Maute family member who served as mayor was listed on the President's "narcolist" of politicians in the illegal drug trade.

"The proceeds of the narcotics are being used for these terroristic activities there, " Lorenzana said in a news briefing in Malacanang.

Supporting the President's claim of large-scale drug manufacturing in Marawi, the Defense chief said, the government has received reports that the supply of shabu or methamphetamine being distributed in Mindanao were coming from Lanao del Sur. 

The President, who launched a controversial war against drugs in July 2016, said drug manufacturers sought the protection of terror groups.

"Christians and the Moro, who were into shabu sought sanctuary amongst the terrorists for protection and to ensure the success of their business," he said.

Before his speech on Wednesday, both Duterte and Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa had hinted at drug trade funding Maute operations.

READ: Dela Rosa: Maute, narcopoliticians 'protect each other'

The ISIS-inspired Maute group stormed on May 23 Marawi City, the capital of Lanao del Sur province, prompting he President to declare martial law in Mindanao.

Foreign funding

Both Duterte and Lorenzana also confirmed local terrorists have been getting funding from foreigners.

In the same speech, Duterte said ISIS, which the Maute has pledged allegiance to, had sent some funds to local terrorists through policewoman Supt. Maria Cristina Nobleza.

READ: Marwan had officiated marriage of policewoman, bandit — Dela Rosa

Nobleza was arrested in Bohol last April, after she was accused of attempting to rescue Abu Sayyaf members with her boyfriend Reneer Lou Dongon, also from the Abu Sayyaf.

While the President said ISIS had not sent much help, he said they had coordinated with Nobleza, who was not only "in cahoots" but also an "active player" in terrorist activities.

Lorenzana, on Thursday said Nobleza had allegedly been receiving remittances from an unnamed Syrian woman who was running a recruitment agency with a Moroccan man.

"We have evidence to prove the lady, the Syrian woman was actually in contact with Supt. Nobleza," he said.

Isnilon Hapilon, the leader of Abu Sayyaf in Basilan and the supposed designated "emir" of ISIS in the Philippines, is also reported to have foreign backing, Lorenzana said.

"We heard from our intelligence that he has received several million dollars' worth of funds from the Middle East," the Defense chief said.

Hapilon is believed to be holed up in a "reinforced building" along with 100 other Maute fighters in Marawi City, according to Lorenzana.