- The battle between the military and Abu Sayyaf in Sulu has resulted in 15 soldiers and 30 bandits killed in a span of two weeks
- Despite the longstanding offer of the military to place the province in a state of emergency, President Rodrigo Duterte scrapped their proposal
- The families of these slain soldiers will be compensated by the government through the conditional cash transfer program and absorbing the widows into office
Despite the recent atrocity the Abu Sayyaf committed recently in Sulu, President Rodrigo Duterte does not see the need to declare a state of emergency in the province.
When the bandits beheaded a male hostage after his family failed to pay a P 1 million ransom last week, the tough-talking president ordered the military to obliterate the group.
30 Abu Sayyaf members were killed, along with one of its prominent leaders.
However, they retaliated while the country celebrated National Heroes’ Day on Monday, as 15 soldiers were killed after a skirmish in Patikul.
This has been the biggest single-day combat loss under Duterte’s administration, which prompted military officials of their longstanding offer to declare the war-ridden province under a state of emergency.
It will make the process of arresting the Abu Sayyaf easier for the military and will also make them implement stricter policies on local officials who conspire with the bandit group.
However, the president said that it was not worth the risk.
“No, it’s just a punitive police action by the security forces of the government. The magnitude of the trouble there does not warrant anything except the industry of the [Armed Forces of the Philippines] and the [Philippine National Police],” he said while at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, where he met up with Filipino overseas workers who lost their jobs in Saudi Arabia.
(Photo credit: www.benarnews.org)
The president noted that the bandit group has beheaded some of the government’s soldiers and slammed them for their actions, stating that they have resorted to ‘some kind of cannibalism’.
“Do you think Allah would be happy to see you do that? In the name of Allah, you kill and you unnecessarily mutilate the body of a human being?”
Duterte addressed the soldiers who were in the wake of their slain fellows that they should not waste any more time or bullets on their fallen enemies. He said that a warrior only needed a bullet to kill his opponent, and they should carry on to fight another day.
However, the military claimed that the president’s statement was false.
AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen Restituto Padilla said that Pfc. Jison Falcasantos was not decapitated. He clarified that the bandits were about to cut Falcasantos’ head but the reinforcement troops came in the nick of time to save him from his demise.
Padilla added that they will be sending five more battalions, which is equivalent to 2,500 troops, to come after the bandits.
The Abu Sayyaf reportedly has 21 hostages in total – 16 are foreigners while five are Filipinos.
Also on his visit, the president sent his condolences to the families of the slain soldiers and promised that they would be compensated by the government.
Duterte has ordered the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to make the widows of these slain soldiers as government employees, and that they become included in the government’s conditional cash transfer program.
Not only will they get monthly cash assistance, but they will also receive a rice allowance.
The schooling of their children will also be taken care of, as they will be sent to study in state colleges or public schools.