The Philippine National Police in Negros Oriental yesterday debunked reports that members of the terror group, Abu Sayyaf, have reached the shores of Dauin, a town located south of Dumaguete City, that is brimming with tourists.
This developed as the 79th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army based in the province has released the names and description of Abu Sayyaf members in Inabanga, Bohol, who are still “on the run” so that the public will be alerted.
Acting provincial police director, Senior Supt. Henry Biñas, said there are enough troops to secure the resorts in Dauin and nearby areas, especially the world-renowned dive destination Apo Island.
Biñas gave the reassurance following false reports spreading on social media that Abu Sayyaf members were arrested in Dauin.
Dauin has the bulk of tourists in the province, and has the most number of resorts, as well.
Government forces have reassured of tight security, especially in Apo Island, after it was identified as among the Abu Sayyaf's target areas in the Visayas.
Biñas has reiterated his appeal to the public to not circulate false or unverified information about the Abu Sayyaf as it will cause unnecessary panic.
Additional Army troops, the Special Weapons and Tactics, and the Provincial Public Safety Company of the Negros Oriental PNP have been deployed to Dauin to conduct routine patrols, he said.
Biñas also denied previous reports of Abu Sayyaf being arrested in Dumaguete, the capital of Negros Oriental.
It is good for the people to be vigilant but they must also be responsible in filtering out information before sharing it on social media, especially when authorities have not verified it yet, he said.
The 79th IB is asking the public to report to the nearest police station or to any government authority sightings of armed men who might fit the description of alleged Abu Sayyaf members who figured in the Inabanga, Bohol clashes April 10.
This is based on the revelations of a resident in Bohol who was “temporarily captured” by the ASG, the Army battalion said.
The alleged Abu Sayyaf bandits who are still believed to be hiding in Bohol include Joselito Melloria, who is wearing a fatigue sweatshirt, wounded on left shoulder and left foot, with an M-16 rifle with two long magazines and M203 grenade launcher with undetermined number of rounds;
A certain Richard, carrying an M14 rifle with numerous rounds of ammunition, semi-bald, wearing black T-shirt, not wounded; a certain Asis, no firearms, carrying a sling bag, has a cellphone (analog) with reserved battery, money, wearing a black jacket and not wounded; a person aged at least 18, has wound on right leg, bald and carrying an M16 rifle; another person also aged 18, with no firearm and has wound on right butt; and two other persons without firearms aged at least 18.
Any information leading to the whereabouts of these suspected Abu Sayyaf members should be forwarded to the nearest police station or call the 79th IB hotline 0948-1469257 or 0955-6996981.*JFP
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