AFP wants tighter maritime watch on Sulu | Inquirer News

AFP wants tighter maritime watch on Sulu

WREATH LAYING President Duterte leads the candle lighting and the offering of flowers at the blast site at Barangay Walled City in Jolo, Sulu province, on Sunday. —MALACAÑANG PHOTO

Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay wants a tighter maritime watch on Sulu, with terrorists using waterways as maneuver space.

Gapay on Monday urged the public and other government agencies to actively help address the multidimensional problem of terrorism.


On the sidelines of Monday’s National Heroes’ Day rites at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio, Gapay told reporters that the twin blasts in Jolo showed the evil of terrorism and the difficulty of combating it.


“We really have to address this terrorism problem comprehensively and holistically so I was calling for, in the past few days, the support of the general public, of our fellow Filipinos, other agencies in our fight against terrorism,” he pointed out, adding, “It’s really very difficult [to combat].”

Multidimensional problem

“It (terrorism) is a multidimensional problem, which would need really the concerted effort of everyone. Besides, security is a shared responsibility by all of us,” Gapay noted and said that the Jolo bombings showed the need for the local governments and their constituents to support the security sector.

As part of measures to strengthen the country’s offensive against terrorism, Gapay pointed out that border and maritime security needed to be beefed up, particularly in Sulu where the Abu Sayyaf group has been actively operating.

“We are calling on the coast guard in tandem with our Navy or the Philippine National Police to work together to secure our maritime borders and even inland waterways. These are being used as maneuver space by terrorists,” he pointed out.

The AFP chief of staff further said that strictly monitoring and regulating materials that can be used to make bombs, such as ammonium nitrate, would also work in preventing future terror attacks.

“We need to monitor those who are buying them, transporting them in big quantities,” he added.


Gapay also noted that terrorists relied heavily on local residents for logistics and financial support.

A battalion-sized Special Action Force has been dispatched to Sulu, a week after the twin blasts that killed 17 people in Jolo and a day after President Duterte vowed to give soldiers all out support in the fight against terrorism.

“As a Filipino, I will give my all out support to your needs to fulfill your mission,” the President said in an hourlong speech at Camp Gen. Teodulo Bautista in the Jolo village of Bus-bus, where he went shortly after he visited and offered flowers for the victims at the blast site.

“I commit myself to work with you my dear troops to ensure that these terrorists will have no future in this country,” he said.

His 22-minute speech was aired on state-run government channels on Monday morning.

Fight until no one is left

The Chief Executive flew to Sulu on Sunday afternoon to light candles and offer flowers at the site of the twin explosions on Aug. 24.

Partly addressing Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan who was in the audience, Mr. Duterte said that if the forces between the government and the armed groups could not agree, then we fight. “And we fight hard until no one would be left. Maybe, by that time, war would finally stop.”

“At present, I could not stop my soldiers because they have a mission and the mission is to crush the insurgents. And the
 insurgents, their mission is for the greater glory of Allah,” Mr. Duterte said.

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The elite police forces will be coming from different parts of Mindanao and some of them from Taguig, Metro Manila, to augment the 12 battalion police force currently assigned in the province.

TAGS: Terrorism, Terrorists

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