Since the end of the attack by pro-ISIS militants in the Philippines, known as the Marawi siege, the number of extremist fighters in the country has significantly declined. In response, violent extremist organizations have increased recruiting efforts, not only in the south where the fighting took place but all across the nation. They capitalize on the quick access afforded by cyberspace to recruit fighters and promote their own brand of violent extremism. These ISIS-affiliated groups use the internet and social media sites as a platform for communication, propaganda, fundraising, recruitment, training, and radicalization.
Colonel Romeo S. Brawner, Commanding Officer of the Philippine Army’s Civil Military Operations (CMO) Regiment, speaks to members of the US Indo-Pacific Augmentation Team. (Courtesy of US Embassy Manila)
The Philippine Army (PA) is working to offset these narratives by developing programs to monitor, clarify, and counter disinformation spread by violent extremist organizations on social media. A US team is working closely with the PA’s Civil Military Operations (CMO) Regiment on social media research and analysis to counter violent extremism during the cell’s initial formulation and development. However, the PA needs high-performance computer equipment to effectively monitor social media. Without these computers, it is impossible to characterize social media actors and counter the violent extremist narrative online. For these reasons, the US team identified this critical need to Spirit of America.
A member of the US Embassy’s Indo-Pacific Command Augmentation (PAT) Team provides training to a new Philippine Army social media monitoring cell.
The US Army and their Filipino partners know how important it is to combat this messaging before violent extremist organizations gain a foothold in isolated areas. With your help, SoA can provide computers and equipment to assist our Philippine Army partners and enhance the combined US-Filipino effort to counteract violent extremism and mitigate threats to regional stability.