Intensify info gathering, Aquino tells intel units-A A +A
Friday, September 13, 2013
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III renewed Friday his order to the intelligence agencies of the government to heighten their information gathering to prevent any diversionary attacks by those sympathetic to the rogue Muslim rebels who have been holding civilians in Zamboanga City.
Aquino made the directive when he flew to Zamboanga to personally assess the ongoing crisis, which was already on its fifth day, involving the armed followers of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) under Nur Misuari.
"From the start na inutusan natin ang ating kasundaluhan, through the Chief of Staff, at ang ating kapulisan, through the director general, plus the respective secretaries na tinitingnan natin, baka magkaroon ng sympathetic attacks, baka magkaroon ng diversionary attack, opportunistic attack. Dapat paghandaan ito," he said in an interview.
"So may reiteration na ‘yung intel units natin should fine-tune their information to be able to pinpoint where ‘yung the possibilities of attacks from all of the threat groups may happen," he added.
The President expressed confidence that the government forces could repel the threats of any criminal groups, citing what they did in Lamitan City, Basilan on Thursday.
"And if they try elsewhere, ano, I’m confident that the Armed Forces will be ready to meet them head-on and to prevent anymore untoward incident," he said.
Some 150 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group tried to attack on Thursday Lamitan.
Aquino branded Misuari-led MNLF, the BIFF and the Abu Sayyaf as being desperate to prevent the country from attaining peace.
The President said that he was not giving the government forces any deadline to end the stand-off with the armed MNLF members.
But he said there is a "decision point."
"Kunyari, may sinaktan sa mga hostages, kunyari nagsunog nitong mga barangay kung nasan sila and other, kumbaga, lines nga that they should not cross; and may instruction sa atin security forces on what to do in the eventuality of certain-- from what is happening," he said.
He also belied reports that some 80 MNLF members have surrendered on Thursday.
"Mali yata ‘yung report. Wala pa ring sumuko ngayon," he said, but he added that there were those who were arrested.
Aquino also disclosed that the Tripartite Review Process of the Philippine government, all the factions of the MNLF and the Indonesian facilitator in Yogyakarta will no longer push through.
Misuari called for the suspension of the meeting, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles said.
The President also said that the Zamboanga crisis has no effect on the ongoing peace talks in Malaysia between the government and the MILF.
He said the situation in Zamboanga could even fast-track the signing of a comprehensive agreement.
In his visit to Zamboanga, Aquino was briefed by the military, police and the city government crisis management committee at the Western Mindanao Command of the incident.
He brought with him in Zamboanga 4,000 bottles of energy drink, boxes of vitamins, cell cards, and assorted candies and chocolates. He distributed them to the military personnel.
The President also visited wounded troops confined in the Camp Navarro General Hospital, which is within the camp premises.
He vowed financial assistance for the families of wounded soldiers and of soldiers killed in the line of duty: 50,000 pesos for the wounded, and 250,000 pesos each for the families of the deceased. (SDR/Sunnex)