Duterte considering ‘invading’ Jolo to finish Abu
President Duterte on Wednesday said if there is a need to finish the Abu Sayyaf group, he will invade Jolo.
“I will invade Jolo. Invasion na lang talaga. But maraming madisgrasya niyan, civilian, bata. Pag naipit na ang bayan I will order an invasion [of] Jolo. Lahat ng Army, military pupunta doon, bakbakan na talaga. Iyan ang gusto nila ibibigay ko sa kanila,” he said.
(But many will die: civilians, children. If the country is besieged, I will order an invasion. Soldiers will go there, it’s war. This is what they want so I’m giving it to them.)
The President also told reporters during a visit to Bohol that he was considering to arm civilians there so they can help the government fight terrorists and drug suspects, adding he prefers outlaws dead than alive.
He offered a P1 million reward for the capture of each Abu Sayyaf member now in Inabanga town–dead or alive.
If the militants are found at sea, he said the Navy will bomb them.
“My order to the Navy, kung positive pasabugin, wala nang surrender. Sabi ko kanyunin mo na. Wasakin mo,” he said.
He also encouraged the residents to kill at least eight members of the bandit groups who were believed to be trapped in the hinterland villages of Inabanga more than a week after they entered the town’s Barangay Napo purportedly to conduct terror activities in nearby islands.
“I encourage civilian to kill. Dead or alive yan may reward mas gusto ko yung dead kasi yung alive magpakain pa ako (There’s a reward dead or alive but I preferred them dead because if they are alive, I will still have to feed them),” he told reporters here after a security briefing with top military, police and government officials here on Wednesday afternoon.
Mr. Duterte arrived in Bohol past 3 p.m. for a briefing on what happened in Inabanga town where at least 10 Abu Sayyaf members entered on board three motorboats on April 10.
The police were tipped off of their presence and immediately informed the military. A gun-battle ensued that involved at least 10 airstrikes.
Killed in the gunfight were four Abu Sayyaf members including their leader Abu Rami, two couple in their 60s, three soldiers and a policeman.
The President was met by Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco and other Cabinet secretaries and local officials at the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) multi-function hall.
He told reporters in an ambush interview after the meeting that the bandits went to Bohol to spoil the meetings for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Panglao town which would official start on Thursday.
Mr. Duterte said Abu Sayyaf members usually have local contacts in the area they go to – most of them criminals.
They would then conduct kidnapping activities and hand their victims to another group until they reach their base in Jolo where negotiations would be made, he said.
Mr. Duterte didn’t elaborate on how to arm civilians.
The 3,200-strong Cebu-Bohol Security Task Group (STG) for the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) were deployed in the province on Wednesday morning.
Chatto said that the Asean meetings in Bohol will help improve the economy of the province.
“Give the red carpet reception and welcome because we are opening Bohol to the rest of Asean and introducing Bohol to Asean and showcasing the best of Bohol and the people,” he said.
Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, police director for Central Visayas who is the overall commander of the Asean security group, said that 4,000 security and emergency personnel will be stationed at various key areas in Bohol to secure around 200 Asean senior officials.
The personnel from 21 national government agencies including the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Fire Protection and the Philippine Coast Guard, among others.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.