PNP, AFP monitoring rebel, terror ‘threat’ in Sulu
POLICE and military intelligence agents continue to monitor the presence of known rebel and terror groups in Sulu and other identified “red zones” in Mindanao despite the surrender of a huge number of known members of extremist groups in the region, officials said Tuesday.
According to Philippine National Police Officer-in-Charge (PNP-OIC) Lieutenant General Vicente D. Danao Jr., the PNP is in constant coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and other law enforcement agencies in monitoring the threat groups in the Southern Philippines.
Priority is given to areas with an intense need to deploy more personnel due to the escalated violent condition, and threat assessment is ongoing, he said.
Last Saturday, Danao joined Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” C. Abalos Jr. in welcoming the surrender of some 100 former Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members in Sulu.
The official said that the road to achieving lasting peace is still ahead as the campaign against criminality and lawlessness involves an intricate process.
“Their surrender is a milestone, but we prepare ourselves to make things work for them. We want to avoid a similar situation when they and/or other new recruits will be persuaded to join the rebels out of deceit,” Danao said.
The PNP-OIC expressed the belief that it is “high time” to prove to the rebel returnees that their decision to go back to the folds of the law is a prudent choice.
“We must make sure that they feel that the government is capable of helping them survive and thrive in life. The PNP has this innate task to keep them away from harm, so with the rest of our countrymen,” he said.
Danao said that the PNP also continues implementing programs and outreach activities in far-flung areas to move basic services closer.
Those who surrendered in Sulu also turned over 22 long and short firearms to Sec. Abalos, Danao and Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan.
“This is a collaborative effort among law enforcers, government agencies, and other stakeholders sharing a common goal to end violence in communities towards nation building,” Danao said.