Manila – Funds for terrorist activities in the Philippines are still flowing in – and the authorities are unable to stop it, said National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales. The money comes mainly from the Middle East and is meant for the Jemaah Islamiah (JI), which has been accused of training terrorists in the Philippines.
Mr Gonzales said the Indonesian authorities had informed Philippine security officials that 10 JI members on a suicide mission had slipped into the country, with two believed to be in Manila.
"We have not yet captured the suicide bombers, and money continues to flow in that we cannot stop," Mr Gonzales said durign a radio programme. "I cannot say how we are able to find out, but I can say that money is coming in and (bombing) materials are being purchased."
He said that couriers are taking advantage of the high traffic between the Philippines and the Middle East, where hundreds of thousands of Filipinos work. The money couriers include both foreign visitors from the Middle East and Filipino workers.
Mr Gonzales said he had recommended that terrorism, including the arrest in the Philippines of some Saudi Arabian terror suspects, be included in talks between President Gloria Arroyo and Saudi King Abdullah during her visit to the kingdom next month.
Apart from worries over terrorist funds, the Arroyo government must also grapple with yet another report of a major terrorist plot.
The Manila Times, quoting "reliable sources" said the JI and the Abu Sayyaf group had designed a grand plan to cause mayhem around the country, especially inMindanao and Metro Manila.
The plan includes kidnapping people in tourist spots in Mindanao and nearby islands for ransom in order to raise enough money to buy high-powered arms, explosives and other materials.
The two terror groups also plan to carry out suicide attacks in Metro Manila aimed at the "mass killing of foreigners, Jews and innocent bystanders".
According to the newspaper, the schemes were contained in a proposal drafted by the JI and the Abu Sayyaf to seek foreign funding, specifically from Middle-Eastern financiers, for their operations.
* Terror funds continue to flow to RP, says Gonzales (The Manila Times, Aug 29)
* Terror plans of ASG, JI revealed (The Manila Times, Aug 26)