AFP turns over Php5.9-M reward money to 2 informants for capture of 2 ASG bandits

MANILA — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday has formally turned over Php5.9 million worth of reward money to two confidential informants who provided crucial information which led to the neutralization of two Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits involved in kidnap for ransom activities.

Col. Edgard Arevalo, AFP public affairs office chief, said the two informants will share in the reward.

He added their “actionable intelligence information” led to the arrest of ASG member Suhud Yakan alias Ben Yasser and the death of sub-leader Sihatra Muallam Asmad alias Latip.

Asmad was involved in the kidnapping of foreign guests and workers of Sipadan Beach Resort in Sabah, Malaysia in April 2000 and members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Patikul, Sulu in August 2000.

Wanted for six counts of kidnapping and illegal detention, Asmad was killed in a joint law enforcement operation last May 23, 2014. He had a bounty of Php5.3 million for his capture.

Meanwhile, Yakan was wanted for kidnapping and serious illegal detention for his involvement in the kidnapping of 15 and killing of two residents of Golden Harvest Plantation on June 11, 2001 in Barangay Tairan Lantawan, Basilan.

Yakan was arrested by elements of the Philippine Army and Philippine National Police on May 23, 2014. He carries a reward of Php600,000.

The reward system was established on June 12, 2001 to encourage civilians to provide vital information needed to neutralize personalities in the rewards list and thwart threats to peace and security.

The system is managed through the AFP-PNP Joint Reward Valuation Committee which is chaired by the AFP deputy chief-of-staff for intelligence and the PNP director for intelligence.

“The information provided by the informants was vital in the identification and eventual arrest and neutralization of wanted personalities who have committed crimes against the people and our peace and security,” said AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Ricardo R. Visaya.

“Beyond the reward money that they will receive, we hope that this endeavor will compel other people to step up in the fight against terrorism. Security, after all, is a shared responsibility and we must do our part in ensuring that our communities are safe,” he added. Priam Nepomuceno/PNA-northboundasia.com