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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Phil govt to use 'all resources' against Abu Sayyaf

FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City - President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday told security forces to use all government resources to protect Mindanao from the Abu Sayyaf Group, which he said has been destroying the peace in the country’s south.

In a speech before alumni of the Philippine Military Academy during their homecoming here, the President said that both the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police have been directed to continuously contain the ASG threat “through intensified operations using all available assets and resources.”

“The Sulu-based ASG is focused on kidnap-for-ransom. The Basilan-based ASG under [Isnilon] Hapilon remains focused on assimilating the IS violence today,” Duterte said.

Duterte said that recent reports suggesting that Abu Sayyaf’s top leader, Isnilon Hapilon leading the Southeast Asian caliphate of the jihadist group Islamic State, would wreck his efforts for a peaceful country.

“Intensified military efforts is the only way to secure Mindanao,” the president said.

At least eight Abu Sayyaf members were killed in a military assault in Sulu last week, while intelligence reports said Hapilon was severely wounded after an offensive in Lanao del Sur.

Only recently, security officials said the homegrown terrorist groups had been uniting and evolving into just one group called Dawlatul Islamiyah Waliyatul Masrik or DIWM, and had chosen Isnilon  Hapilon of the Abu Sayyaf as their sole leader in their aggressive efforts to be recognized by the ISIS.

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