Military will pursue campaign to end terrorism in Western Mindanao
The Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) emphasized its campaign plan against terrorists after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the military to destroy and kill them.
“On the PRRD’s ( President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) order, this is primarily the role of the military to confront the terrorist groups that bring havoc and fear among the people we are mandated to serve and protect! This is the very reason why we continue our sustained operations in areas where they operate,” Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, Wesmincon spokesman, said Tuesday.
“We have enough troops on the ground but there are expected shifting of forces based on the current campaign plan based on higher headquarters’ strategy,” he said.
“We all want to end terrorism the soonest possible time because it has stunted the growth of our country and prevented most communities to enjoy peace and development,” Besaba noted.
“Hence, we always call on all stakeholders to join hands and support the government’s efforts to rid our society not only of the terrorists themselves but also the drivers that breeds terrorism,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the military “to kill and destroy” the terrorist in the country with “bankrupt and useless ideology” in his visit to Camp Teodulfo Bautista in Brgy. Bus-bus, Jolo, Sulu last Saturday.
In an ambush interview in Manila on Monday, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana gave his estimate on the current strength of the terrorists in Sulu, Basilan and in Central Mindanao.
“In Jolo, there are about more than 100 (ASG members), in Basilan around 35, that is why it’s hard to find them because their small number,” he said.
“In Central Mindanao there are Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). They are about 100 to 150 BIFF,” he added.
Lorenzana said the Abu Sayyaf are still holding nine hostages in Sulu.
“In Jolo there are nine hostages that they are holding for a long time, some of them are with them for more than two years,” he said. Robina Asido/DMS