PH military chief calls for stronger border security in wake of Jolo bombings
MANILA, Philippines—Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay called for stronger border security in the wake of the recent bombings in Jolo, Sulu, saying the Philippines’ coastlines and waterways have become “maneuver space” for terrorists.
“We have to beef up our maritime security,” Gapay told reporters on the sidelines of National Heroes’ Day commemoration in Taguig City on Monday (Aug. 31).
“That’s why we are calling on Coast Guard, in tandem with our Navy, Marina (Maritime Industry Authority), the PNP (Philippine National Police) to work together to secure our maritime borders,” he said.
Gapay also said that authorities should keep track of and regulate the movement and sale of materials being used for bomb-making, like ammonium nitrate.
“We should be able to monitor those who are buying them, transporting them in big quantities so we have to monitor them,” said Gapay, speaking partly in Filipino.
Two explosions, believed to be suicide bombings, ripped through the town of Jolo, capital of Sulu province, last week, killing 15 people, including soldiers and policemen, and wounding at least 70 others. The military believed the bombings were the work of the homegrown terror group Abu Sayyaf, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State.
Gapay said the military has intensified its intelligence operations to probe into the logistics and support system of the terror suspects.
Security, he said, was a “shared responsibility” and called for the support of other government agencies and the public in the war on terror.
“We are calling on all other agencies, the general public and other stakeholders to work with us to really put an end to this terrorism, not only in Sulu but in the entire country,” the military chief said.
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