From the Visayan Daily Star (Aug 9): ‘No imminent terror threat inVisayas'
There is no imminent threat. Attack is possible, but not likely.
The assessment was made yesterday by the Army's 3rd Infantry Division on the threat posed by the Mindanao-based extremist groups on the Visayas, that is considered at Level 2 category in peace and security.
“That is why, we have to improve our structures, coordination and resiliency to insulate our provinces and regions from the Mindanao spill over,” Maj. Gen. Jon Aying, ID commanding general, who supervises the security of 10 provinces in Western and Central Visayas, as well as Negros Island Region, said.
Three months ago, the 3ID and police managed to contain the expansion of operations of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in Bohol. Eleven ASG members were killed, and two others arrested, including a policewoman with the rank of superintendent.
This prompted the Armed Forces of the Philippines to organize task forces in 10 provinces of the three Visayas regions, to address possible spillover of terrorist groups from Mindanao.
In a security briefing held at the Provincial Capitol in Bacolod City yesterday Aying said that the newly-created Task Force Buglas can be a medium for making all sectors come together and become active and responsive in addressing all security threats.
Task Force Buglas was given a budget of P25 million by the provincial government of Negros Occidental for the training of security personnel and to buy equipment to combat terrorism, with the bulk of the security effort focused on the coastal areas of southern Negros.
Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, yesterday said he is proposing additional training for SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) personnel, such as in hostage negotiation, and creation of K9 units, to support the Task Force Buglas.
Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Col. Eliezer Losañes, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, Police Regional Office 18, Regional Public Safety Battalion 18, Philippine Navy and Coast Guard, as well as the Maritime Command, also assured their all-out support to the task force.
Citing the Bohol experience, Aying said their campaign against the terrorists would not have succeeded, if there was no critical collaboration from the community.