THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) deployed a battalion of marine troops to further boost the focused military operations against the Abu Sayyaf bandits in the island province of Sulu, officials said Tuesday, June 18.
Lieutenant General Arnel Dela Vega, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said the deployment of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-7 (MBLT-7) is a deliberate move and an upsurge in the military’s effort to crush Abu Sayyaf bandits, “seen by the unrelenting offensives delivered to pound terrorists in Sulu.”
“With their combat acumen and intestinal fortitude, our marine troops will deliver focused operations that will ameliorate our advantage on the ground,” Dela Vega added.
The MBLT-7 formerly safeguarded the municipalities of Nuro and South Upi and the coastal municipality of Datu Blah Sinsuat in Maguindanao.
The send-off ceremony of the MBLT-7 to Sulu on Sunday was attended by top military officials at the Polloc Port in Parang, Maguindanao.
“In everything you do, please include prayers; it is the most effective weapon we can have in the start of our operations, wherever we are and whatever we do. Always remember that the highest honor we can have is to fight alongside our fellow warriors,” said Major General Alvin Parreño, Philippine Marine Corps commandant.
“We would like to thank the JTF (Joint Task Force) Central for accommodating us for we have seen high brotherhood and solidarity in the Armed Forces,” Parreño added.
Major General Cirilito Sobejana, Joint Task Force Central commander, said the excellent performance and commitment of the MBLT-7 to service has brought significant development in peace and order “in your area of operations, contributing to the socio-economic development of the place.”
“I hope that you succeed in replicating your accomplishments and soon bring just and lasting peace in Jolo. Thank you for your service in Central Mindanao, and good luck on your next duty,” Sobejana added.
The deployment of the MBLT-7 troops will augment the troops already stationed and pursuing the Abu Sayyaf bandits in the province of Sulu.
Among the troops that are presently deployed in Sulu included the Army’s 11th Infantry Division and Philippine Marine Ready Force-Sulu, which are under the operation and control of the Joint Task Force Sulu.
The Abu Sayyaf bandits are still holding a number of captives that included foreigners in the hinterlands of the Sulu province. (SunStar Philippines)