MANILA–The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) remains confident of neutralizing the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) within the six-month time frame set by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“The AFP is on the right track and is confident it can meet the timetable of six months within which the Commander-in-Chief, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the ASG defeated,” military public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement Sunday.
This confidence was further bolstered by AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año’s visit to the officers and enlisted personnel of Joint Task Group Sulu last April 6.
He went on to urge soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen of the unit to work harder and double time so that the campaign to eliminate the bandits can meet its June 30 deadline.
“The AFP is midway in its campaign against the Abu Sayyaf, General Año inspired them to operate at full speed, double or increase the operational tempo some more. The AFP has proven its capacity to inflict heavy casualties against the terrorist group,” Arevalo stressed.
As this develop, Año said that the bandits are no match to the AFP due to its ability to adopt new tactics and maneuvers to defeat them.
“We have actually perfected the art of combined and joint operations. We saw the interplay among major services, and the interplay of each ground troops to deliver in different lines of operation, the maneuvers, the fire support and the combat leadership,” he added.
Also on April 6, Año along with senior AFP commanders visited the officers and enlisted in Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista in Sulu.
He also awarded new Glock pistols to the officers who led the successful operations against the ASG that resulted to the recovery of 77 high-powered firearms — the biggest haul so far in the period of less than two months.
Año lauded the troops of the JTF-Sulu for their sacrifices and hard work in implementing his six-month campaign against the terrorist group.
“(In the past three months) the AFP leadership did not hear a single complain; everyone did his and her best in the job. We are very proud of all the soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines who continue to perform their tasks in line with our thrust against the Abu Sayyaf and other local terrorist groups,” he added.