THE military's Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) has alerted all its units to keep a close watch on all possible landing sites in their respective areas of jurisdiction, officials said Tuesday.
Lieutenant General Benjamin Mohammad Dolorfino, Wesmincom chief, issued the order following reports that two Malaysian nationals were seized in Sabah, Malaysia and brought to the southern Philippines.
The two Malaysians, one is described only as a 40-year-old seaweed plantation manager, and the other a 25-year-old supervisor, were reportedly seized Monday morning in Sempurnah, Sabah, Malaysia.
They were reportedly abducted by five gunmen, some of whom were foreign-looking.
“We have received such report,” Dolorfino said, citing why he alerted all the units under the military's Wesmincom that has jurisdiction over half of the southern Philippines territory.
Dolorfino said the Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) command under Rear Admiral Alexander Pama has deployed and alerted all NFWM units and watercraft for maritime interdiction operations.
He said all the intelligence units of the Wesmincom were also ordered to monitor probable landing sites within their respective areas of jurisdiction.
“Wala pa confirmation,” said newly-promoted Chief Superintendent Rolando Puruganan, the deputy chief of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations (Dipo)-West.
Dipo-West is the counterpart of Wesmincom and both units have the same area of jurisdiction.
In April of 2000, Abu Sayyaf bandits have seized 21 people, including Asians and Europeans, in Sipadan, Malaysia and herded the hostages to the province of Sulu.
The hostages were freed in batches after alleged payment of huge ransom to the bandits who have gained international notoriety for staging the Sipadan kidnapping.