TAGBILARAN CITY, April 21 (PIA)–Local government officials here are not taking any more chances: they are mobilizing information force multipliers against threat groups inside and outside Bohol.
At the Press Briefing for the updates on the Inabanga clash between government troops and Abu Sayyaf Group members, Police Task Group Commander PCSuperintendent Noli Taliño hinted the need for a tight dragnet that could snag the remnants of the clash who are on the run and may slip out of Bohol through stolen boats.
Earlier on that same day of the briefing April 17, Governor Edgar Chatto said he met Bohol Congressional representatives, Bohol Provincial Officials, mayors and Municipal Local Government Operations Officers to cascade the mandate to form the dragnet that they would spread across all coastal towns to watch for any attempt to escape.
The expressed instruction is: convene all coastal law enforcement (CLE) groups, fishermen organizations and commercial fishers to help in the efforts to keep Bohol safe.
Bohol has 29 coastal towns of its 48 towns and organizing these fisher groups and commercial fishers as additional eyes and ears can well boost Bohol’s efforts to enforce an impenetrable wall from the outside and a containment that does not allow just anybody to slip through.
Marginal fishermen, commercial fishers, they can be our help in watching our coastal areas from any stranger groups leaving or landing, a police security officer at the briefing sidelines explained.
While intelligence officials have hailed Bohol’s community based Purok Power movement which helped spread the information about the incursion of the ASG bandits over ten kilometers upriver, the governor stressed, “everyone realizes the defense of the community in not just a task of the police and the military.”
Army intelligence officer Lt Col. Adolfo Espuelas Jr., however was positive that the 7 ASG remnants of the encounter are still contained in the area around Napo, Canlinte, Cawayan, Dagohoy and Lonoy, in the hinterlands of Inabanga.
In a hostile community, the remnants of the clash are demoralized, left with few ammunition, have no food, no sleep and practically no capacity to consummate what they intend to do, Col. Espuellas said.
Army intelligence also bared that the firefight that almost lasted 24 hours, left the ASG’s local contact Joselito Melloria with a wound in the left back shoulder and left foot, another young fighter with a wound in the right leg and yet another fighter with wound in the right buttocks.
Intelligence also reports that the remnants have only 3 M16 rifles, one fitted with an M203 grenade launcher, one M14, a depleted ammunition supply, an analog cell phone with spare batteries, no food, no local support, have been sleepless and are on the run without any more capacity to fight.
At the same meeting, Gov Chatto told media that he pressed on the role of civilians in the side of law enforcement against terrorism and criminality even as he cited the role the children played that led to the thwarting of the ASG terror plans.
“The mayors resolved to strengthen all towns, barangays and puroks especially their coastal areas,” Chatto appraised the Bohol media during the briefing.
Even then, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the government is giving a cash bounty of a million pesos to anybody who could positively share information leading to the arrest or neutralization of the remaining bandits in Bohol.
He also urged civilians to help as he hinted a government move to arm the civilians to help pursue the bandits. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)