Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana admitted that Daesh officially recognized Abu Sayyaf Leader Isnilon Hapilon.
Daesh even contacted Hapilon since the group aims to establish a new base in the Philippines where they can operate.
Lorenzana also said that Daesh feels pressured because of the non-stop operations in Syria, and they are looking for a new territory outside their region where they can have a centralized operation.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines Intelligence reported that last December, Hapilon was seen going to Lanao del Norte to search for a hide-out for Daesh.
This happened after Maute Group claimed the City of Butig in Lanao del Norte which also caught the attention of Daesh.
Furthermore, Hapilon had created an alliance with Maute Group. The said group serves as a protector of Hapilon in Lanao del Norte. – EPJA