A report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer cited a report to officials including Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. indicating Filipinos are among the Southeast Asians being lured to conflict zones in the Middle East. Some Islamic militants are home-grown, just like the Abu Sayyaf (in photo), who have links with al-Qaeda terrorists. (Photo from http://vkb.isvg.org/Wiki/Groups/Abu_Sayyaf_Group_(ASG))

A report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer cited a report to officials including Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. indicating Filipinos are among the Southeast Asians being lured to conflict zones in the Middle East. Some Islamic militants are home-grown, just like the Abu Sayyaf (in photo), who have links with al-Qaeda terrorists. (Photo from http://vkb.isvg.org/Wiki/Groups/Abu_Sayyaf_Group_(ASG))

MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III wants a relentless hunt against the Abu Sayyaf Group members after the bandits released two German captives last week.

In an interview in Leyte, Aquino described the ASG as a problem that already affected the country’s relationship with other countries.

Wala silang [Abu Sayyaf] humpay at palagay ko naman dapat rin tapatan ng estado na walang humpay ‘yung pagtutugis sa kanila,” the President told reporters.

He added that he had already instructed the police and the military to make sure there would be no let-up in the operations against the ASG.

Wala ng safe area. Talagang kailangan walang tigil ang paghahabol sa kanila,” Aquino said.

The ASG on Friday released two German hostages, Stefan Victor Okonek and Herike Diesan, who were abducted by bandits in waters between Palawan and Sabah in April. The bandits claimed that ransom was paid for the release of the captives.

Aquino said no money came from his office to secure the freedom of the German captives.

“Nothing came from the Office of the President. I can assure you that. I didn’t authorize anything from the Office of the President,” he said.

The ASG, which has been blamed for several past kidnapping and bombing incidents in southern Philippines, is also supposedly getting logistical support from the global militant Islamist group al-Qaeda, according to local authorities.

The bandit group had also reportedly pledged  allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a jihadist militant group being accused of atrocities on Iraqi and Syrian territories. (MNS)