By Mars W. Mosqueda Jr.
Authorities barred local and foreign tourists from entering Olango Island, a known bird sanctuary in Cebu, after residents reported encountering masked armed men.
The Central Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines immediately sent troopers in Barangay Sabang after one resident said four unidentified men, wearing masks and carrying bags, which reportedly contained long firearms, asked food and money from her.
Aida Patigdas, a resident of Sitio Tuburan, said four armed men went to her house high noon Thursday to ask for some money and food. Patigdas, who owns a convenience store, said she refused to give the men money because she was scared.
When police responded to the area, they heard successive gunfire apparently from long firearms at Sitio Bas Toral, Barangay San Vicente.
Different units of the police, along with members of the 47th Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, and the Philippine Navy were currently conducting clearing operations in the area to verify whether or not bandits had entered the island.
However, authorities had not confirmed nor deny the presence of the armed men and if those armed men are members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
Olango Island located adjacent to Inabanga town in Bohol, where a clash between the ASG men and government troops resulted to the death of nine people, including three soldiers and a policeman.