PRESIDENTIAL Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino wants to create a committee that will verify who are qualified to claim the P1-million reward that President Rodrigo Duterte promised to give to anyone who can report on the whereabouts of the remaining Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members in Bohol.

Central Command Commander Oscar Lactao, Police Regional Office 7 Director Noli Taliño, Bohol Gov. Edgardo Chatto and the town mayors should sit down as members of the committee, Dino said.

Dino said the police and military officials, including the local officials of Bohol, are the persons who best know the operations against the rebels since they have been on top of the monitoring and command of the government troops.

“I suggested that they should create a committee. We have to create that committee to really know who are worthy of the P1 million reward,” he told reporters.

During his visit to Bohol last April 19, before the second clash happened in Barangay Bacani, in the town of Clarin, Duterte offered a P1-million bounty for each of the seven remaining ASG members who engaged government troops in a gunfight in Barangay Napo, Inabanga, last April 11.

Duterte ordered the capture of the seven bandits “dead or alive.”

Last Saturday, a habal-habal driver tipped off the police that led to the second encounter between soldiers and police and the rebels that also resulted in the death of Joselito Melloria, a Boholano rebel, and three other members of the ASG.

The Bohol Provincial Police Office (BPPO) is handling the security of the tipster and also handles the recommendation for the reward, Taliño said.

When asked if other informants like those kids who reported the sightings of the armed group in Inabanga are also entitled to the bounty, Taliño said he has no idea yet and will validate it first.

Once they can verify the information, Dino said he will endorse it to the president, so the fund will be released.

As to the offer of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña to extend a P100,000 reward to the tipster if the local government of Bohol will not give any, Dino said it is a very good act of the mayor, but he should take care of his area first.

“Cebu needs a lot of funds to be given to our police and military. For me, the police equipment, including the firearms and vehicles, and the allowances should be given first back to them. He is the mayor of Cebu City, not Bohol,” he said.

Despite the negative feedback, Osmeña will still push for giving the reward to the tipster if the local government will not give him anything, as it will set an example to the public in reporting suspicious-looking people in the city.

As to the request for the City Government to release P500,000 to each of the families of the four slain soldiers and policeman, Osmeña said he is still waiting for the approval of Pagcor as it is being supported by the City Council. RVC/KAL/Mara K. Gabilan, CNU Intern