From the Visayan Daily Star (Jun 9): AFP ups grip on Visayas
The Armed Forces of the Philippines has tightened its grip on the Visayas to prevent the possible intrusion of ISIS-inspired local terrorist groups, by implementing target hardening measures and other security related activities, as well as involving communities down to the barangay level, in the security aspect.
While the ISIS threat is clear and present, there is no cause for alarm in the three Visayas regions, Maj. Gen. Jon Aying, who is the commanding general of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division said yesterday.
Aying, who presided yesterday over the inter-agency workshop, that was participated in by different state security forces and local government officials of Negros Island Region, admitted that the terrorist group has the capacity to influence, entice or attract more members from communities in Visayas and Luzon.
The threat is just there, he said.
He, however, said that there is no cause for alarm. “It is a cause for a sense of security and not for alarm, he emphasized.
Lt. Gen. Oscar Lactao, commander of the AFP Central Command, who also attended the inter-agency workshop, instructed all state security agencies to ensure that not a single terroristic activity will happen in the Visayas.
The 3ID has already established Joint Task Force Dagon in Bohol, Joint Task Force Leon Kilat in Negros Oriental, Boracay Task Group and Joint Task Force Buglas in Negros Occidental.Those for the provinces of Iloilo, Siqujor, among others, in the Visayas, are soon to follow, Aying said.
Aying said they are advocating structure mechanisms to establish convergence among local government units, civil authorities, law enforcement agencies and development sectors, from the provincial level down to the barangay, to address various concerns, such as maritime security.
The possibility of spillover to Visayas of the operations of the Maute terrorists and their allied groups in being entertained by the authorities.
The joint task forces organized in the province will cascade to the cities and municipalities, down to the barangay, purok and sitios, where individual members of the community can be part of the security team, he added.
The detection of the presence of Abu Sayyaf bandits in Bohol, which led to the killing of nine of their members in a series of gunbattles, with the 3ID troops and the police, was attributed to the vigilance of the local communities.
But it would be much better if the information is early, or prompt enough, so we can do more prevention rather than reacting to atrocities created by either terrorist groups, or communist insurgents, he said.
Aying also said that the campaign against the CPP-NPA will not take a back seat.
While we dedicate most of our troops to the hinterlands in order to put closure to the insurgency problem and terrorism, we are also aware of possibilities that they may deploy anywhere in the 3ID areas of operations in the Visayas, even to the possibility of deploying them to Mindanao.
The 3ID infantry units are operating in 10 provinces of Negros Island Region, Western and Central Visayas.