THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is not discounting the scenario that the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group may launch attacks in Metro Manila and other major cities in the country to sidetrack the government’s intensified campaign against them in Mindanao.
However, AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla clarified that “there is no specific threat” coming from the group “but these are possible scenarios which we are ready to respond to.”
An Abu Sayyaf attack in Metro Manila is “possible but not likely” said Padilla but added that “we are prepared for any eventuality.”
He said government troops have already caught up with the group of Abu Sayyaf leader Radullan Sahiron in Patikul, Sulu.
“Worst case scenario ito na pinaghahandaan natin, so better prepared than not. It’s better, and we can safely safeguard our communities, if everyone cooperates and help each other so the security coverage becomes multiplied a thousand times by an alert and cooperative citizenry,” he said.
“We appeal to the public during these occasions, while we are conducting these intensive military operations in these areas to be alert, to be vigilant and to be observant of their surroundings and report suspicious looking personnel as well as unattended items to the autorities so that accordingly they can act on such information immediately,” Padilla said.
Thus far, 30 Abu Sayyaf members and 15 soldiers had been killed with President Rodrigo Duterte deploying five more battalions or 2,500 soldiers in the hunt against the group.