Skip to comments.90 days to crush Abu Sayyaf
Posted on 02/28/2003 8:21:06 AM PST by Steel Wolf
President gives military 90-day deadline to crush the ASG
PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Friday imposed a 90-day deadline on the military to crush the Abu Sayyaf bandit group as she also ordered them to go after those responsible for an attack on a power transmission tower in Mindanao that resulted in an extensive power outage.
The President cited the recent capture of an enclave operated by another Muslim rebel group after being given a week to do so as evidence the military "follow deadlines very well."
"I suppose they'll be able (to do it.) If they have the proper allocation of resources, they'll be able to finish the Abu Sayyaf in 90 days," the President said, though she did not say when time would start ticking on the 90-day deadline.
Armed Forces chief of staff General Dionisio Santiago said the ultimatum "would give the military more reason to double time. I understand the President's decision to set timeline. We're all running out of time. I'm retiring in April. If I have my way, I would want to accomplish this before I retire on April 8," he said.
About 2,000 US soldiers are due to arrive in Sulu for bilateral military training with Filipino troops under the Balikatan 03-1 exercises. US department of defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said US soldiers would engage in combat with the Abu Sayyaf. Malacanang has repeatedly denied that US forces would play a combat role against the Aby Sayyaf.
The bandit group was notorious for its kidnapping-for-ransom activities in the south. The group is still holding four Indonesians as captives. Pursuit operations by the military have felled several members, but its top leaders remain on the loose.
President also ordered the military to go after those behind the bombing of a power transmission tower of state-owned National Power Corporation in Iligan city late Wednesday.
"We have to enforce the law and run after those who break the law," Ms Macapagal said.
Wednesday's bombing and a fresh attack late Thursday on another power transmission tower in Buluan town, Maguindanao, believed staged by the Muslim separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), brought to 19 the number of National Power Corporation tower bombed by the rebels in two weeks.
Ms Macapagal issued the deadline against the Abu Sayyaf from a military training site in Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal where she served as godmother at the christening of the child of Rosalinda Cocoy, a former New People's Army rebel.
The President urged communist rebels anew to lay down their arms and return to the fold of the law, and said the government is open to help those who would abandon the 34-year armed struggle.
To draw an obvious parallel, I don't see how constantly giving Saddam Hussein extensions to meet vague goals, while continually thumping our war chests, is any better. It's much worse.
We will come out looking better, perhaps, because we are so much more prepared (this said not knowing anything of the relatives threats of Abu Sayef and the Phillipine military).