After having negotiated an indefinite ceasefire agreement with leaders of the communist insurgency in Oslo, Norway last Friday, the Duterte administration should now seize this opportunity to shift men and material to bring the resurgent Abu Sayyaf Group, a criminal organization in southern Muslim Mindanao, to its knees, Senate Minority Leader Ralph G. Recto said yesterday.
“I think this is one dividend we would like to see – for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to have its undivided attention on Abu Sayyaf,” Recto said.
Recto said some AFP units tied up in checking New People’s Army activities could now be redeployed to areas where the Abu Sayyaf has grassroots support or within the reach of “Abu Sayyaf’s long arm of terror.”
The NPA is the armed organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines that has waged war against the Republic for the past four decades.
Recto made the statement following a breakthrough in the Oslo talks between government and CPP-National Democratic Front representatives in Norway where they agreed to negotiate a longer, mutually agreed ceasefire, among other signed pacts, to end Asia’s longest insurgency.
On the senatorial campaign trail last summer, Recto called the “wiping out of the Abu Sayyaf” as the “Artikulo Uno” (Article One) of the urgent things the next president should do.
As the fifth president the Abu Sayyaf has battled with, Duterte should not pass on this inherited problem to his successor, Recto said.
“Tuldukan na niya. If he is drawing up a list of criminals who must be neutralized, then without doubt the Abu Sayyaf occupy the No. 1 spot,” Recto said.
Recto said these terrorists have been beheading people for 25 years now. “If the President will defeat them, only then does he deserve the moniker “The Punisher,” he said. (Mario B. Casayuran)