At least one informant who tipped off authorities on the location of Abu Sayyaf militants last Saturday in Clarin town was given the reward money previously offered by the government to civilians with credible information on the bandits’ whereabouts.
According to Major Gen. Oscar Lactao, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command, he was tasked by Pres. Duterte to hand over the reward this morning.
However, Lactao in a press briefing at the Peopleâ€™s Mansion in Tagbilaran City earlier today refused to disclose information on the amount of the reward and how many informants were given the sum.
Media personnel were also barred from witnessing the rewardâ€™s turnover.
Previous reports identified one of the tipsters as a habal-habal driver, but Lactao said that full identities of the informants and the reward system are â€œclassified information.â€
Duterte had initially raised a P1-million bounty for the capture of each ASG bandit in Bohol while a P100,000-reward also for each militant was offered through the provincial government.
The rewards were put up days after the initial clash between government troops and around 10 ASG men in Barangay Napo, Inabanga, the banditsâ€™ suspected entry point.
During the latest clash in Clarin last Saturday, four extremists were killed including Bohol-native Joselito Melloria who was believed to have been the guide of the militant stragglers.
Authorities stormed the banditsâ€™ location after the informant told authorities of two â€œunkempt and smellyâ€ men who rented his habal-habal to buy P400-worth of bread at a bakeshop.
The last encounter cut down the number of bandits in the province to three, based on latest military reports.
At the same press conference, Gen. Arnulfo Matanguihan, commander of the Armyâ€™s 302nd Brigade, said that reports on the remaining banditsâ€™ location are still being verified but noted that ASG stragglers have not escaped Bohol.
Matanguihan assured the public that the military and police have reliable intelligence sources which indicated that the ASG men have not left Bohol while they are being hunted by government troops in the province.
The army official also urged residents to continue conveying information to authorities just as long as these are not fabricated, which he said would only burden military and police personnel as they verify false reports.
Matanguihan admitted that many of residents’ reports on the ASG bandits’ location that they received were not true. Still, he thanked Boholanos for their concern and vigilance. (Allen Doydora)