Army on alert over Sayyaf threat

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BACOLOD CITY: Philippine Army soldiers on Negros island were placed on alert for the observance of the Holy Week after they were told that a threat posed by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) had been confirmed.

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Major General Jon Aying, 3rd Infantry Division commander, said they had received information on the movement of the ASG and other Muslim extremist groups in the Sulu Sea.

Aying added that all Army units in Negros Occidental were ordered to be on alert and to coordinate with local police.

Soldiers on Negros island will work with the police in securing beach resorts, coastal areas and residences owned by foreigners, he said.

“The PNP [Philippine National Police] has been on full alert already,” the Police Regional Office 18 said in a statement.

“COP (Chiefs of Police) have been instructed to constantly remind their personnel to be vigilant and alert, and intensify their [intelligence]monitoring and information gathering regarding the movement of the ASG,” it added.

Earlier the Philippine Coast Guard-Bacolod City station in Negros Occidental received information on the ASG’s plan to kidnap tourists at beach resorts around Sulu Sea.

Lieutenant Senior Grade Jimmy Oliver Vingno, commander of Coast Guard-Bacolod City, said while the threat does not cover Negros Occidental, neighboring Negros Oriental is an area of concern.

The United States Embassy had released a travel advisory warning its citizens to avoid traveling to Cebu and Bohol because of the threat.

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