From GMA News (Aug 24): AFP chief sending Marines to secure Zamboanga City
Army soldiers will be deployed to Sulu to take the place of Marines who will be sent to Zamboanga City, which members of the Moro National Liberation Front besieged in 2013.
According to Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang, the Marines will be brought in to augment the 500-member Task Force Zamboanga after recent reports of abductions in the city by members of the Abu Sayyaf.
“If you visit Zamboanga, it appears that the people still have fears. I don’t want that,” the AFP chief said.
The 2nd Marine Brigade in Sulu has five battalions of around 500 officers and enlisted personnel each. That number will be reduced to around 1,000 to 1,500 Marines, with soldiers from the Compostela Valley-based Army 10th Infantry Division taking the place of the redeployed Marines.
“Zamboangeños are more comfortable with the Marines,” Catapang said, adding Marines have been assigned to secure the city in the past.
Sulu, where Abu Sayyaf has a strong presence, will not be left undefended, however. Catapang said the AFP will have 3,000 Marines and soldiers deployed in the province.