By Aaron Recuenco
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has deployed a number of high-speed tactical boats in Mindanao to support soldiers and elite police commandos who are running after the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
In the waters of Sulu, for instance, PNP Maritime Group director Brig. Gen. R’Win Pagkalinawan said at least five high-speed tactical boats were deployed for maritime patrol and for the transport of government forces.
“Right now, I have 35 high-speed tactical boats, majority of them focused in Mindanao. I deployed five tactical boats in Jolo in particular because we are in support of Army, Marines, and Mobile Forces (policemen) of the province who need sea assets to conduct operations in the islets,” said Pagkalinawan.
High-speed tactical boats, according to Pagkalinawan, are like armored personnel carriers, or V150s, in the water. Each high-speed tactical boat costs P13 million.
As such, he said the deployment of Maritime Group’s high-speed tactical boats is a boost in the conduct of operations against the Abu Sayyaf and other criminal groups in western part of Mindanao, particularly in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi (BaSulTa).
“Ever since, it has been reported that lawless elements, including Abu Sayyaf, are fleeing through the seas from Sulu to different islets. If they have information they just need to board our boats,” said Pagkalinawan.
“The boats are armed for force protection,” he added.
President Duterte earlier ordered to finish off the Abu Sayyaf, which resulted in the deployment of more troops in Sulu and Basilan areas.
Pagkalinawan, for his part, said they also deployed 300 Maritime Group personnel to conduct patrol and other operations in Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi areas.