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Replicating Bohol’s vigilance

By: Ricky Poca April 24,2017 - 09:46 PM

Ricky Poca

Ricky Poca

Central Visayas had always been known as a peaceful and progressive region, envied by many for its economic growth rate that only a few in the country can rival.

But that peace had been disrupted by the entry of the Abu Sayyaf bandits in Inabanga town, Bohol province during the Holy Week whose presence was reported by residents there.

Thanks to their vigilance, the military and police lost no time in engaging these bandits in a firefight that cost them some men but tragically resulted to the deaths of some soldiers and civilians.

The bandits fled after their leader died in the encounter, hiding in a cave and posing no small amount of anxiety for the Inabanga residents as well as the neighboring province of Cebu.

Sightings of suspicious-looking men led the police and military in circles before they got a lucky break when a habal-habal driver reported to the police of transporting two disheveled, foul-smelling men who wanted to buy bread.

The driver’s information proved instrumental in allowing the military to corner the bandits and kill four more of them with no casualties on their side. At this juncture, the military said it’s only a matter of time before these bandits capitulate or die in another encounter where they would not likely escape alive.

It’s no small coincidence that these Abu Sayyaf bandits arrived in Bohol in time for the Asean summit activities, confirming the US travel advisory on the presence of terrorists and Abu Sayyaf bandits in the region.

It is important for us Cebuanos to replicate the vigilance of the residents of Bohol so we can spot these bandits before they victimize innocents including our foreign visitors.

I hope the military, police, and Coast Guard double their efforts to track down and end the Abu Sayyaf threat lest more of their kind decide to visit and wreck havoc in Cebu.

Residents in the coastal and mountain barangays should be tapped to serve as effective force multipliers in monitoring and reporting these bandits to the authorities.

I know that vigilance can easily go overboard and result in rumor mongering so it’s important that the authorities seek public cooperation to “delouse” and verify the authenticity of reports and word of mouth.

* * *

I think it’s high time that the national government take more action to stop or at least slow down the China buildup in Pag-asa island in the West Philippine Sea.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana visited the area to check on the Filipinos living there and to help reinforce the country’s claim in that territory.
We should support the government’s moves to reinforce our claim over some of the islands instead of surrendering them to other claimants.

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TAGS: Cebu, Firefight, military, vigilance

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