By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang expressed confidence that the government will be able to overcome the threat of the Abu Sayyaf group (ASG) no matter how many times they try to regroup.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after the Straits Times reported that the terrorist group is looking to get back into the business of kidnap-for-ransom.
“The resurrection of a kidnap-for-ransom group in the southern Philippines after a 21-month hiatus is posing fresh threats to Sabah’s east coast,” the report read.
Malacañang, however, does not feel threatened by the report, saying the government is ready to overpower the group anew.
“Handa po tayo harapin ang banta galing sa Abu Sayyaf. Kinakailangan po silang mag-regroup dahil napulbos na natin sila (We are ready for any threat coming from the ASG. They need to regroup because we already finished them off),” Roque said Thursday.
“Asahan niyo po na kahit anong gawin nilang regroupment ang Abu sayyaf po kayang-kayang pulbusin ng ating gobyerno (Expect that the government can defeat them no matter how what kind of regroupment they do),” he added.
Counterterrorism efforts lauded
Roque, meanwhile, welcomed the review of the United States State Department on the country’s campaign against terrorism and violent extremism.
“The Country Reports on Terrorism 2017 of the US State Department mentioned the concrete steps that the country undertook to combat terrorism and prevent violent extremism,” Roque said.
The report mentioned the continued inter-agency information sharing between Philippine law enforcement agencies; increased aviation security capacity; and active participation in trainings on crisis response, border security, and investigations including cybercrimes.
It also noted that the Philippine government has consistently acknowledged the dangers from ISIS-affiliated terrorist groups and welcomed assistance on counterterrorism and reconstruction from Australia, Japan, and the United States.