President Rodrigo Duterteâ€™s visit in Bohol last Thursday afternoon, sent a strong message that boosts Boholâ€™s consolidated effort in the manhunt, together with law enforcers, against the remaining Abu Sayyaf members on the loose after the Inabanga clash two weeks ago.
Gov. Edgar Chatto said the Presidentâ€™s visit boosted the morale of the soldiers and the police units in Bohol together with the entire Boholano community who now face the challenge of capturing the remaining eight ASG members led by Inabanga native, Joselito Melloria, who had survived and gone into hiding in the hinterlands of the town after the encounter with government troops on April 11.
Chatto saidÂ Duterteâ€™s visit to Bohol sent a strong message to those who tried to sow terror in the peace-loving community in Bohol and the entire nation.
Duterte was briefed that a concerned citizen offered a bounty of P100,000 for each of the ASG survivors, but the President raised the bounty to P1 million each, or just for a tip that would lead to the capture of the bandits.
The President was also informed of the initial leads that the Provincial Intelligence Branch of the Bohol Police Provincial Office got on that Tuesday afternoon.
Chatto also said that during the close-door meetingÂ at the Multi-purpose Hall of the Philippine Ports Authority in Tagbilaran City, Duterte ordered the AFP and PNP to exert all effort to capture the ASG men on the loose in Bohol â€œdead or aliveâ€.
This was reiterated by Duterte during an interaction with the media after the meeting, adding a quip that they better be captured dead to save food allowance when they would be incarcerated.
Chatto said he is thankful to the President for standing by Bohol in this trying time and for being concerned of the security of the province and the entire country.
Duterte, during his interaction with the media, even quipped that civilians may take up arms against the ASG men who survived the Inabanga encounter on April 11 or kill them.
Chatto said Duterte made a last-minute decision in the wee hours that day to drop by Bohol in the afternoon, diverting from his official itinerary, just to get a thorough briefing on the Inabanga clash and to ensure the security arrangements are in place for the ongoing ASEAN meeting in Panglao.
Duterte arrived with Cabinet secretaries in tow and stayed for a few hours where he tackled the Inabanga incident with Chatto, Inabanga Mayor Josephine Socorro Jumamoy,Â PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa,Â Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, DND Usec. for Defense Operations Cesar Yano,Â AFPÂ chief of staff, Gen. Eduardo AÃ±o, and DILG Undersecretary Catalino Cuy.
In fact, the peace-keeping groups came in full force for the close-door meeting where they tackled the Inabanga incident, according to Chatto.
The ASEAN coordination group was also there, led byÂ retired Chief Supt. Josephus AnganÂ who serves as the ASEANÂ National Organizing Council consultant. Angan represented Ambassador Marciano Paynor Jr., the presidential chief protocol officer and secretary general of the National Organizing Council for the ASEAN 2017 summit.
From the Bohol side, PNP Provincial Director Felipe Natividad, 302ndÂ Infantry Brigade commanderâ€”Col. Arnulfo Matanguihan,and Tagbilaran City Vice Mayor Jose Antonio Veloso joined Chatto and Jumamoy in the meeting.
The cabinet secretaries who came with the President also attended the meeting- -Cabinet Sec. Leoncio Evasco Jr.,Â Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, andÂ DILGÂ Undersecretary for Peace and Order Catalino Cuy.
Duterte just stayed for a few hours inÂ BoholÂ and left, together with the Cabinet secretaries, after seeing that the security arrangements are in place, to be able to catch up on the rest of his itinerary.
Dela Rosa stayed in Bohol for a few more hours and proceeded to barangay Ulbujan in Calape to visit the family of the slain SWAT Team member,Â PO1 Rey Anthony Nazareno, and conferred honors for the slain police officerâ€™s heroic act.
Members of the Presidential Management Staff who came a day earlier had already visited the family though, bringing the bouquet of flowers and the financial assistance from MalacaÃ±ang to the family of Nazareno.
Bato returned to Tagbilaran for dinner with the governor at the Peopleâ€™s Mansion and left in the evening via Cebu.