Local officials on Tuesday said that Bohol particularly its tourist destinations remained peaceful as government troops thwarted the Abu Sayyaf from carrying out any terrorist activity following the bandit groupâ€™s incursion into the province earlier this month.
The statement was issued by the provincial government and the Provincial Tourism Council (PTC) amid foreign government advisories on travel to Bohol due to the clashes between security forces and the members of the bandit group in two towns of the province.
According to PTC president Atty. Lucas Nunag, Inabanga, the ASG’s entry point in the province is far from tourism zones such as the beaches in Panglao, the Chocolate Hills in Carmen and the Loboc River.
â€œInabanga is also far from the Tagbilaran City Airport and Tagbilaran City wharf. Inabanga and Clarin, as always mentioned in the news during the past days, are 79 km. from Panglao beach resorts and 45 km. from the Chocolate Hills,â€ Nunag said through a joint statement of the PTC and the provincial government.
Nunag also pointed out that the band of ASG men is no longer capable of causing major disturbances as its leaders Muamar Askali, alias Abu Rami, and Bohol native Joselito Melloria have been killed in encounters with government troops.
On Tuesday, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said in a press briefing that the remaining militants in Bohol are now merely fighting for their survival.
According to the latest update of the military, there are now only two ASG bandits in the province following the reported death of one of the three survivors of the Clarin clash on Saturday.
The militant reportedly died due to complications caused by hunger and sustained injuires.
However, this has not yet been confirmed by the AFPâ€™s 302nd Brigade which is stationed in Central Visayas.
The remaining militants are still likely in hiding amidst the hinterlands of Clarin town, according police and military sources.
Earlier, Gov. Edgar Chatto had also noted that the bandits who have not yet been killed after the Saturday encounter have diminished firepower as they only have in possession one firearm.
â€œIn terms of the groupâ€™s capacity to cause major disturbances, the possibility is likely nil as intelligence reports indicate that they have weakened, and they no longer have a leader, a guide, and they donâ€™t have the support of residents,â€ Chatto said. (Rey Tutas)