Bamboo Gang granted Abu Sayyaf a 'franchise': Duterte

Duterte claims Bamboo Union has granted the Philippine Jihadist terrorist group Abu Sayyaf a 'franchise'

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Duterte speaks to protesters after state of nation address.

Duterte speaks to protesters after state of nation address. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in a speech on Thursday claimed that United Bamboo Gang (Bamboo Union, 竹聯幫), Taiwan's largest Triad has granted the Philippine Jihadist terrorist group Abu Sayyaf a "franchise," reported The Philippine Star.

In the speech, delivered in Balangiga, Eastern Samar, said Abu Sayyaf is one of the terror groups given a franchise by the Bamboo Union. "They have franchises. They have a franchise given to Abu Sayyaf because they have arms and they still do their job [to carry out hostile activities]. They cook and distribute because they have arms," said Duterte, reported SunStar.

The previous day, Duterte had blamed Bamboo Union and 14K Triad in Hong Kong for the illegal drug trade in the Philippines.

Duterte claimed that many illegal drugs are produced on the high seas and these operations have been taken over by Bamboo Union and 14K Triad. Some discarded empty bins from these drug processing operations have been found floating on the northern sea of the Philippines labeled with Chinese characters, indicating they were of Taiwanese origin, Duterte said.

However, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) denied that Taiwan is a significant source of illegal drugs in the Philippines. "Taiwan had never been the source of illegal drugs entering the country," said TECO in a statement.

Even the notorious "White Wolf" Chang An-lo (張安樂), "spiritual leader" of the Bamboo Union, has denied Duterte's claims, saying "Based on my understanding of Bamboo Union, it does not have such a capability, I have also not heard any branch involved in illegal drug trafficking, I have not heard of this. I can't speculate if there are any individuals involved in drug trafficking, but it is impossible that they would be supplying the Philippines," reported SETN.