Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Ricardo Visaya on Monday ordered the 125,000-strong military to use all available “tools of war” to eliminate the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sulu and Basilan once and for all.
The order was the offshoot of the 3rd Quarter Command Conference held at the Tejeros Hall of the Commissioned Officer’s Club in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City last October 14.
Visaya gave the order after the AFP gained significant headway in the focused military operations against the ASG in their known lairs in Basilan and Sulu.
This operation was one of the first orders issued by President Rodrigo Duterte upon assuming the presidency on June 30.
â€œLet us use all available tools of war in inflicting not just physical destruction, but also in rendering a psychological blow against the ASG. Ensure their isolation from their local support system and make the communities resilient against the influence of terrorists,â€ the AFP chief added.
Visaya noted that for the third quarter of the year, AFP operations resulted in the neutralization of 130 ASG personalities, 102 of whom were killed, seven were apprehended, and 21 have surrendered.
The figure includes the death of key terror personalities Mohammad Said, Jamiri Jawhari, Musanna Jamiri, and Nelson and Braun Muktadil, he said.
The AFP also confiscated 165 fastcraft that are being used as a means of transportation by the ASG, reducing the groupâ€™s mobility and ability to cross borders around the provinces of Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-tawi (ZAMBASULTA), he added.
Visaya further ordered the AFP to take advantage of the memorandum of understanding signed with the Department of Transportation that empowers the AFP to enforce regulations on the use of high-speed watercraft, confiscate unregistered seacraft, and dismantle illegally constructed piers and wharves.
â€œThis must be enforced, not only in the ZAMBASULTA area but throughout the country to significantly reduce enemy capabilities, further constrain their movement, and deny staging areas for their atrocities,â€ he added.
â€œWe need to hit the ASG harder. Our goal is the total defeat of the ASG and the destruction of its cells at the soonest possible time,â€ Visaya stressed. (PNA)