Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has asked the Congress to allocate funds to recruit 20,000 new soldiers to battle rising threats from pro-Islamic State militants in the country's restive south, senators said on August 2.

Senate majority leader Vicente Sotto said Duterte wants to make sure that in his tenure, he will be able to resolve the problem of peace and order.

Three other senators said the president is serious about the scale of the security threat and asked the Congress for support to fund his plan to upgrade the military's equipment and intelligence capabilities.

"We're willing to help," said Senator Panfilo Lacson, adding that the president also asked to boost the police force by 10,000 men, recruiting more to be deployed as commandos to help the military fight insurgents.

[US helps Philippines fight Islamist militants]

On August 1 night, Duterte called an urgent meeting with a group of senators to share with them the latest intelligence reports on plans by Muslim extremists to attack three cities on the southern island of Mindanao.

In May, gunmen pledging loyalty to the IS occupied Marawi, a major city of Muslims in the south. Clashes between Philippine security forces and the militants have killed more than 600 people.-VNA