The government has vowed to step up the relentless military campaign to destroy the Abu Sayyaf group following the killing of 15 soldiers in Sulu.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella acknowledged that the deaths of the troops were unfortunate and assured that more military troops would be deployed to hunt down the Abu Sayyaf members.
“It is unfortunate that the number of our troops have already lost their lives. However, as Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on August 29: We are going full force and all-out operations against them,” Abella said.
“We are adding five battalions or about 2,500 people and that they’ll only be in Sulu,” he added.
Abella said President Duterte has not imposed any deadline for the military to resolve the Abu Sayyaf problem but “it should be within a reasonable period.”
“Definitely the President is focused on making sure that the threat from the Abu Sayyaf Group should be terminated as soon as possible,” Abella said.
Fifteen soldiers were killed following a fierce gun battle with more than a hundred Abu Sayyaf members in Patikul, Sulu last Monday. This is the largest military loss since the President directed an all-out war on the Abu Sayyaf rebels. (Genalyn Kabiling)