Updated 15:55 PM PHT Sat, February 18, 2017
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday reiterated his order for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to continue containing the threat posed by ISIS to the country.
"I have directed AFP and PNP to continuously contain the ISIS threat, to intensify operations using all available assets and resources," Duterte said before thousands of alumni of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) at their annual alumni homecoming at Fort General Gregorio Del Pilar in Baguio City on Saturday.
Duterte said the Basilan faction of the Abu Sayyaf group led by Isnilon Hapilon remains focused on assimilating with the international terror group ISIS. The Sulu-based members of the Abu Sayyaf, on the other hand, continue to engage in kidnap-for-ransom activities, Duterte said.
Duterte earlier declared an all-out war against terrorist groups in Lanao del Sur, where the military believes Hapilon was organizing the "ISIS-connected group."
The President said defeating the ISIS is "the only way to secure Mindanao."
The first president from Mindanao asked the military for help in protecting citizens from lawlessness.
He again vowed to bring peace and order in the country amid the threats it faces, not just from terror groups but from illegal drugs as well.
Duterte said the country's war on drugs, which has claimed the lives of over 2,500 drug offenders, has been successful.
"What I desire for the Philippines is a prosperous society that includes everyone, peaceful law-abiding citizenry and people of different beliefs who choose to get along with one another," Duterte said.
"If there is peace and order, businesses and everything else will follow," he added.
PMA supports Duterte
Duterte, an adopted member of PMA Dimasupil Class of 1967, served as guest of honor and speaker for the homecoming of the PMA Alumni Association. The PMA has trained Filipinos for military service since 1898.
It was the first time Duterte set foot at the PMA grounds since he was elected President last year.
In a rather unusual occasion, the President spoke for less than 10 minutes while sticking to his prepared speech, in which he also praised the PMA for its tradition of discipline.
The PMA Alumni Association adopted Duterte as an honorary member during Saturday's ceremonies, and affirmed its support for the administration's war against illegal drugs and crime, and its efforts to attain lasting peace.
CNN Philippines' Gerg Cahiles and Eimor Santos contributed to this report.