PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte pledged on Wednesday to reward P1 million to anyone who can provide information about the whereabouts of the Abu Sayyaf bandits who survived the clash with government security forces in Bohol last April 11.
Duterte, who attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) briefing in Bohol on Wednesday, said he wants the members of Abu Sayyaf captured "dead or alive."
"I am here to warn everybody about the practice [of Abu Sayyaf group]. But since they ask for it, my orders to the police and to all, and even civilians who have interest to fight and kill, my order is dead or alive," the President said.
"Maybe scouring the safety nets where they are landing, I have you P1-million offer per person. Just give a tip and hand it to the police and military. No questions ask. Do not even give your name. Just say where they are and leave it to the government," he added.
The firefight between government forces and Abu Sayyaf group in Inabanga, Bohol, last week posed a threat to local and foreign tourists.
Armed Forces Chief of Staff Eduardo Año said earlier that the military is still tracking five bandits who survived the clash.
Duterte assured civilians that they will be vindicated from any liabilities if they will successfully kill the five Abu Sayyaf suspects.
"If you kill, you don't have to worry. You just go to the police and make a report, state your truth. That's not a problem. I'll take care of you. I'll pardon you or whatever," he said.
Despite his instruction, the Chief Executive assured the safety and security of the people in the province.
He said the government forces have already heightened security measures to suppress illicit acts done by the bandit group.
"Anyway, I said, we are doing our best. The Army is here. The place is secured. We have more done enough officers to fight in one year, if need be. So you are safe," Duterte said.
Duterte said he already instructed the police and military to "finish the game" because Abu Sayyaf bandits "create a disaster for all of us."
He said he is also mulling to arm civilians in the area for the successful operation against the bandit group.
"I also intend to arm the civilian. And we will also include the civilians," he said. "I have to talk to the local officials. There might have some objections so i would like to hear first what would be the wherewithal in such situation where we armed the civilians."
If the situation worsens, Duterte said he might be forced to order the military to invade Abu Sayyaf's lair in Jolo.
"I hope it would not reach the point that we have to choose the last option because if that's the case, I may have, maybe, invade Jolo. That will really be invasion," he said. (SunStar Philippines)