Philippines and ISIL

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ISIL insurgency in the Philippines
Part of the Moro conflict and the
Military intervention against ISIL
Date23 July 2014 (2014-07-23) – present
Primarily in Mindanao, Philippines
Status Martial law declared in the Mindanao region until 31 December 2019.[9][10][11]


Supported by:
Non-state supporters:

Foreign supporters:

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant[7]
Abu Sayyaf
Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters
Ansar Khalifa Philippines[8]

Maute group
Commanders and leaders
Philippines Rodrigo Duterte
(President of the Philippines)
Philippines Delfin Lorenzana
Philippines Jose Faustino Jr.
Philippines Guillermo Eleazar

Current leaders
Radullan Sahiron
Esmail Sheikh Abdulmalik (Known as Abu Turaifie)

Deceased leaders
Isnilon Hapilon 
Omar Maute 
Abdullah Maute [12]
Ameril Umbra Kato 
Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan 
Units involved

Armed Forces of the Philippines

Philippine National Police seal.svg Philippine National Police

United States U.S. special operations forces (technical assistance)[13]
Military of ISIL
Casualties and losses
almost 240+ killed almost 1,680+ killed
165+ civilians dead

The Philippines is one of the state opponents of the militant group, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), more commonly referred to by the local media as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

ISIL maintains operations in the Philippines through local jihadist groups - Maute group, Abu Sayyaf group, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and Ansar Khalifa Philippines. The groups pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014 or the following years.

ISIL has been linked to increased suicide bombings by Filipino nationals in 2018 and 2019, a method which has been rarely carried out in the Philippines and the few successfully carried out done by foreigners. Filipinos were suspected to be involved in the 2018 Lamitan, 2019 Jolo Cathedral and Indanan bombings.[14]

Main events timeline[edit]


On July 23, Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon pledged allegiance to ISIL through a video posted on YouTube.[15] This is an indication of ISIL presence in the Philippines.[16]


In April, Maute group pledged allegiance to ISIL along with the Ansar Khalifa Philippines terrorist organization, vowing to provide support for each other.[17] The Maute Group was a strong manifestation of the rise of family terrorism in the Philippines.[18]

On November 16, When the APEC Summit was to be held in Manila, a video of men in masks with ISIL black flag behind them is posted on Facebook, claiming "ISIL in Mindanao" will attack the summit.[19]


May 23

A video discovered on a cellphone seized by AFP during a raid on a safe house in Marawi shows militants including Hapilon and Maute brothers were planning attack on Marawi.[20] The attack was the 4th step for them to gain the approval of the ISIL leadership,"requires the conduct of widespread atrocities and uprisings all across Mindanao."[21]

June 1

Eight foreign militants had been killed in Marawi, five of which they have identified as Malaysian, Indonesian, Saudi Arabian, Yemeni and a Chechen.[22]

October 16

Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute was reportedly killed.[23][24]

October 19

the Malaysian terrorist Mahmud Ahmad who helped finance the Marawi siege and recruit foreign fighters[25] was killed.[26]

ISIL's support[edit]

In March 2016, training manuals, bandanas with ISIL inscriptions and other documents for militants under the ISIL were recovered after the military captured a Maute group camp, indicating that the group may be trying to link up with ISIL.[27]

On June 21, 2016, ISIL released a video entitled "The Solid Structure" recognized Abu Sayyaf leader Hapilon as the mujahid authorized to lead the jihadists in the Philippines, and designated him as the emir for Southeast Asia.The video also urged aspiring members who can't go to the Middle East to fight for ISIL in the Philippines instead.[28]

In August 2017, another video released by ISIL asks would-be fighters to go to the Philippines, especially the Marawi City where militants are under siege of the government forces.[29]

Filipino members of ISIL[edit]

Involvement of Filipino citizens in ISIL has been reported as early as 2014.[30] According to the Daily Mail citing undisclosed Kurdish sources that a Filipino national was among the ISIL members who appeared in a beheading video of American aid worker Peter Kassig and 18 Syrian soldiers uploaded in YouTube. The Philippine military said that the report could not be verified and said that there was no ISIL recruitment in the Philippines at that time. The Department of Foreign Affairs during this time has been receiving unverified reports of Filipinos training in Iran to fight for ISIL in Syria.[31]

In June 2016, ISIL released a video where three of its members, a Filipino, an Indonesian and a Malaysian urged aspiring members who can't go to the Middle East to fight for ISIL in the Philippines instead. In January 2017, Rappler reports that the Filipino member was identified as Mohammad Reza Kiram, a 21-year old who was the first verified member in ISIL fighting in Syria.[32]

Affiliate groups in the Philippines[edit]

The following Philippine-based militant groups have pledged allegiance to ISIL.[33]

Non-state opponents of ISIL in the Philippines[edit]

Aside from the Philippine government, ISIL and its affiliate groups in the Philippines has received armed opposition from other local groups in the Philippines.

Related clashes[edit]

Battle of Marawi.

The following are the list of battle and clashes involving the jihadist groups since they respectively pledged allegiance to ISIS:

Related terrorist incidents[edit]

Public opinion on ISIL[edit]

In a poll conducted between February 16 to May 8, 2017, the Pew Research Center says that 70% among the Filipinos questioned view ISIL as a major threat to the Philippines ahead of global climate change (65%) and cyberattacks (64%).[35]


The chart below gives the information of casualties since the jihadist groups respectively pledged allegiance to ISIS.

Year Government forces Civilians Abu Sayyaf Maute Group BIFF
2014 27 killed, in the whole year[37]
2015 44 killed(Mamasapano clash)
  • 7+ dead(December 24)[38]
133 killed,(only in Sulu) in the whole year[39]
  • 18 killed(Mamasapano clash in January)
  • 139 killed(February 25 – March 22)[40]
  • another 12 killed(March 23 - March 30)[41]
  • 24 killed(in late February)[46]
  • 8 killed(on July 16)[47]
  • 8 dead(January 10)[48]
  • 7 dead(July 30)[49]
  • 9 dead(August 21)[50]
149 killed? (before May 17)[51] 94 killed?(in the first half of the year)[52]
Battle of Marawi 168 killed 87 dead 978 killed
Total 240+ killed 165+ dead 1681 - 1740+ killed

Note: Some casualties from small-scale conflicts or terrorist incidents are not given.


  1. ^ Pia Gutierrez (31 May 2017). "Duterte, MILF create 'peace corridor' in Marawi". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  2. ^ Philippine army and armed groups join forces in Marawi
  3. ^ "U.S. provides 'technical assistance' to troops in Marawi - AFP". Rappler. 6 June 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  4. ^ Reuters. "US Special Forces Helping Philippines Fight Militants in Marawi". Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  5. ^ "Australia to send spy planes to help Philippines fight militants". Reuters. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  6. ^ Duterte thanks China for firearms, ammo vs Mautes
  7. ^ Banaloi, Rommel C. (15 June 2017). "The Maute Group and rise of family terrorism". Rappler.
  8. ^ Caleb Weiss (5 June 2017). "Islamic State video shows destruction of church in Marawi". Long War Journal. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  9. ^ News, ABS-CBN. "READ: Proclamation of martial law in Mindanao". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Congress extends martial law to December 31". Rappler. Retrieved 2017-07-22.
  11. ^ Gomez, Jim (10 December 2019). "President Duterte ends martial law in Philippines two years after ISIS siege". The Independent. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  12. ^ News, ABS-CBN. "Military confirming reports Maute brothers killed in firefight". Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  13. ^ "Philippine military confirms US forces providing support against militants allied to Islamic State". CNBC. Reuters. 10 June 2017. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Suicide attacks emerge in Philippines under ISIS influence". Rappler. Agence France-Presse. 2 July 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Senior Abu Sayyaf leader swears oath to ISIS". Rappler. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  16. ^ Banlaoi, Rommel. "ISIS Threats and Followers in the Philippines". Rappler. Rappler. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  17. ^ "Maute Group / Islamic State of Lanao / Daulat Ul Islamiya / Daulah Islamiyah | Terrorist Groups | TRAC". Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  18. ^ Banlaoi, Rommel. "The Maute Group and the Rise of Family Terrorism". Rappler. Rappler. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  19. ^ "ISIS' global ambitions and plans for Southeast Asia". Rappler. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  20. ^ "PH military believes Abdullah Maute is dead". Rappler. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  21. ^ "Calida: Military knew Marawi terror plot as early as April". Rappler. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  22. ^ hermesauto (2017-06-01). "Foreigners from at least 5 countries fighting with rebels in southern Philippines' Marawi: Minister". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  23. ^ "Top Marawi siege leaders killed in clashes". Rappler. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  24. ^ "DNA test confirms Hapilon's death". Rappler. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  25. ^ "FAST FACTS: Who is Mahmud Ahmad?". Rappler. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  26. ^ "Mahmud Ahmad dead – Duterte". Rappler. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  27. ^ Pareño, Roel. "IS training manuals found at militants' camp". Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  28. ^ "Calida: Military knew Marawi terror plot as early as April". Rappler. Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  29. ^ "A new ISIS video recruits fighters for the Philippines, not Syria". NBC News. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  30. ^ Banlaoi, Rommel. "ISIS Threat to Philippine Security". Rappler. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  31. ^ "Filipino man suspected to be first Asian involved in ISIS beheadings: report". The Star, Asia News Network. 20 November 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  32. ^ Ressa, Maria (27 January 2017). "Filipino millennial joins ISIS in Syria". Rappler. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  33. ^ Banlaoi, Rommel. "Al-Harakatul AL-Islamiyyah: Essays on the Abu Sayyaf Group, Terrorism in the Philippines from Al-Qaeda to ISIS". Retrieved November 2019. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  34. ^ "10 MILF fighters dead in clashes with ISIS-linked groups". Rappler. Agence France-Presse. 23 August 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  35. ^ Viray, Patricia Lourdes (7 August 2017). "Poll: 7 in 10 Filipinos see ISIS as leading security threat". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  36. ^ Pareño, Roel. "Abu Sayyaf bandits massacre 21 civilians in Sulu". Retrieved 2017-09-26.
  37. ^ News, ABS-CBN. "Abu Sayyaf killed in 2015 surpasses 2014 total - AFP". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 2017-07-21.
  38. ^ "Philippine Muslim guerrillas murder seven in Christmas eve raids". ABC News. 2015-12-25. Retrieved 2017-10-09.
  39. ^ Mangosing, Frances. "133 Abu Sayyaf killed, 164 wounded in Sulu in 2015, says AFP". Retrieved 2017-07-21.
  40. ^ AP (2015-03-31). "Philippine troops claim killing 139 rebels". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 2017-08-02.
  41. ^ Pike, John. "Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters [BIFF]". Retrieved 2017-09-26.
  42. ^ "Abu Sayyaf rebels kill 15 Philippine troops - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 2017-09-21.
  43. ^ "Basilan clash: What we know so far". cnn. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
  44. ^ Pareño, Roel. "157 Sayyaf men killed, 159 hurt in Sulu, Basilan". Retrieved 2017-07-29.
  45. ^ "Philippines: 22 dead in 3 days of clashes with military". Anadolu Agency. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
  46. ^ "China Post". Retrieved 2017-08-05.
  47. ^ Unson, John. "8 BIFF members killed in Maguindanao clash". Retrieved 2017-10-09.
  48. ^ "Suspected pirates kill 8 fisherman in Philippines south". Anadolu Agency. Retrieved 2017-10-09.
  49. ^ "Bodies of 7 loggers killed by Abu Sayyaf found in S. Philippines - Xinhua |". Retrieved 2017-10-09.
  50. ^ Inquirer, Philippine Daily. "9 dead in Abu Sayyaf raid in Basilan village". Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  51. ^ "Philippine troops kill 149 ASG militants | Maritime Security Review". Retrieved 2017-07-22.
  52. ^ Alipala, Julie. "94 Abu Sayyaf rebels killed in first 6 months of 2017—military". Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  53. ^ "15 terrorists killed, 7 others wounded in renewed AFP anti-terror campaign in Lanao Del Sur | Philippine Canadian Inquirer". Retrieved 2017-08-05.
  54. ^ "Philippine forces kill 36 members of IS affiliate in Mindanao - Dubai Eye". Dubai Eye. 2017-04-24. Archived from the original on 2017-08-05. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
  55. ^ Mangosing, Frances. "36 members of Maute killed, 3 soldiers hurt in Lanao clashes". Retrieved 2017-08-05.
  56. ^ "36 Maute men killed; Lanao camp overrun". Retrieved 2017-08-05.