Press Release
August 27, 2016

Truce with Reds should allow Digong to concentrate on Abu Sayyaf

Government should seize its ceasefire with communist guerillas as an opportunity to shift men and material to its fight to bring the resurgent ISIS-affiliated Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) to its knees, Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto said.

"If the truce with the New People's Army (NPA) will relieve the military of fighting a war in one front, then perhaps they can concentrate in finishing off the Abu Sayyaf," Recto said.

"I think this is one dividend we would like to see--for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to have its undivided attention on Abu Sayyaf," Recto said.

He said some units tied up in checking NPA activities could now be redeployed to areas where the Abu Sayyaf has grassroots support or within the reach of "Abu Sayyaf's long arm of terror."

Recto made the statement following a breakthrough in the Oslo talks between government and National Democratic Front representatives where they agreed to negotiate a longer, mutually-agreed ceasefire, among other signed pacts, to end Asia's longest insurgency.

On the campaign trail last summer, Recto called the "wiping out of the Abu Sayyaf "as the "Artikulo Uno" of the urgent things the next president should do.

As the fifth president the Abu Sayyaf has battled with, President Duterte should not pass on this inherited problem to his successor, Recto said.

"Tuldukan na niya. If he is drawing up a list of criminals who must be neutralized, then without doubt the Abu Sayyaf occupy the number one spot," Recto said.

"These terrorists have been beheading people for 25 years now. If the President will defeat them, only then does he deserve the moniker 'The Punisher,'" he said.

The senator described the ASG as the "most violent criminal syndicate" in the country today, saying that its "barbarity" has already made it among Asia's most brutal groups.

"This gives us the regional obligation to stamp them out and wipe clean this blot on our national image," Recto said.

"Abu Sayyaf's victims are not just counted by the number of body bags, which are already in the hundreds since it began its bloody business a quarter of a century ago," Recto said.

"What must be tallied too are losses they have inflicted on our economy. Lands are idled by farmers too afraid to till, vacation plans are cancelled by tourists who are discouraged by bad publicity, investments are aborted," he added.

News Latest News Feed