The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) claimed that it is winning the war on terror.
Lt. Colonel Ramon Zagala, AFP Public Affairs Office chief, said on Monday that the neutralization of 175 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members since 2010 was a proof of the military’s success that would soon result in a secure environment.
“The neutralization ensures that we are a step closer to having a secure environment in the region especially in Sulu and Basilan areas. So their neutralization is an assurance that we’re headed to a more secure and stable environment,” Zagala added.
He is optimistic that the military would defeat the ASG.
“Our timeline for the Abu Sayyaf is to defeat them the soonest possible time, they are the priority,” he told reporters.
Last year, three of ASG’s most wanted leaders—Filipino Umbra Jumdail a.k.a. Dr. Abu, Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, and Singaporean Abdullah Ali alias Muawiyah, were killed in military bombing operations in Sulu..
Jumdail is wanted for multiple murder and kidnapping with a P7 million and $140,000 reward on his head.
Zulkipli bin Hir, on the otherhand, has a warrant of arrest for bombing and other terror activities and has a P7 million and $5 million reward for his capture, while Muhamda Ali, a known Jemaah Islamiyah member, has a $50,000 reward on his head.
Professor Rohan Gunarathna, management staff head of the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism in Singapore, said the AFP was successful in containing terrorist threat in the country.
“The terrorism threat has been very significantly reduced in the Philippines because the Armed Forces of the Philippines have generated high quality, high grade intelligence. And as a result of the capacities and capabilities of the Philippine military and the police to produce intelligence, so many terrorist attacks have been prevented, so many important leaders have been protected, so much of infrastructure have been protected from terrorist attack because of good counter-terrorism intelligence,” he explained.