DAVAO CITY -– The latest beheading of an 18-year-old minor by the Abu Sayyaf Group prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to order anew the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to seek out the lair of the ASG and “destroy them”.
The President said the Abu Sayyaf kidnapping activities is the reason why he is sending more troops to Jolo, Sulu to destroy all the enemies of the state. “My orders to the Police and to the Armed Forces against all enemies of the State: Seek out. Seek them out in their lairs whatever and destroy them,” he told reporters at a press briefing late Wednesday night outside of Ahfat Restaurant here.
The 10th Infantry Division has started to pull out forces from the 69th Infantry Battalion and the 79th Scout Rangers in Davao for the government’s counter-terrorism campaign focusing on the Abu Sayyaf.
About 400 to 500 soldiers left Davao on Wednesday and Thursday to their new base in Western Mindanao Command for deployment to Jolo, Sulu.
The President vowed his war against the Abu Sayyaf would be harsh. “Go out and destroy them,” he ordered.
On Wednesday night, a report said the Abu Sayyaf beheaded one of its Filipino victims identified as Patrick Almodovar after the family failed to pay PHP1 million ransom. The family was given until 3pm on Wednesday to deliver the money. Almodovar was kidnapped in Barangay Asturias in Jolo last July 16.
While he was saddened by the beheading of Almodovar, Mr. Duterte warned the Abu Sayyaf could not kill their Norwegian hostage Kjartan Sekkingstad because they were paid PHP50 million for his supposed release last July.
Mr. Duterte said Sekkingstad was not released after the Abu Sayyaf asked for an additional money.
Sekkingstad is the remaining hostage of the three foreigners and a Filipina taken by armed men from a high-end resort in the Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte last year.
The other two foreigners – Canadians James Ridsdel and Robert Hall were beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf separately in April and June while Filipina Marites Flor was released last June 24 after negotiations by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza with the help of Sulu Governor Sakur Tan. Lilian Mellejor/LDP/PNA)