The Philippines is stepping up a legal offensive against two Islamic militant groups in the country, drawing up a terror blacklist similar to those in the United States and Europe, an official said on Monday.
The Abu Sayyaf and the Rajah Solaiman Movement, jointly blamed for the country's worst militant attack -- the bombing of a ferry near Manila Bay in 2004 that killed more than 100 people -- are considered among the biggest security threats in the country.
Ricardo Blancaflor, executive director of the government's anti-terrorism council, said his agency had started drawing up a terror blacklist that will be sent to courts for approval, criminalising membership to Abu Sayyaf and Rajah Solaiman.
"Once outlawed, it would be easier for the government to run after members of the Abu Sayyaf and Rajah Solaiman," he said at an anti-terrorism seminar.
"It would also be much easier for us to search, freeze and seize bank accounts and assets used for plotting bomb attacks as well as make it difficult for them to hide proceeds from kidnap-for-ransom activities."