A Philippine Army KM-450 utility truck. Philstar.com/Jonathan de Santos, file

Zamboanga City, island provinces on alert vs attacks
Roel Pareño (Philstar.com) - May 24, 2017 - 7:10am
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Government forces are on heightened alert in this southern city and in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi against violence that may spill over from faraway Marawi City.
Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said authorities are securing vital installations against any attack and even intentions of sympathizers of terrorists group to divert attention of security forces in Marawi City and in Sulu and Basilan .
She said Col. Leonel Nicolas, commander of Joint Task Force Zamboanga, has mobilized all its available forces in coordination with the police to guard against attacks. Parts of the city were captured by members of a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front in September 2013.
Maute group militants figured in clashes with military and police in Marawi City, around 425 km away from Zamboanga, on Tuesday and set fire to several buildings. President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law over Mindanao in response to the clashes on Tuesday night. 
Troops were also on heightened alert in Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, where there are areas known to have a strong presence of the Abu Sayyaf.
Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Joint Task Force Sulu, said the military is maintaining vigilance even as  pursuit operations continue against the remnants of the Abu Sayyaf. The Western Mindanao Command has said the terrorist group is crumbling and will be eliminated within months.
Sobejana said the Abu Sayyaf militants were on the run and have been flushed out from their traditional lairs.
“We remain vigilant and do not lower our guard,” Sobejana said.
Government forces were also on heightened alert in the southern backdoor of Tawi-Tawi.
“Security is everybody’s responsibility,” Brig. Gen. Custodio Parcon, commander of the 2nd Marine Brigade and Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi said.
“The people of Tawi-Tawi are peace-loving and will not allow any spillover (of violence),” Parcon said.
Government forces in Basilan have been pushing towards the interior of the mountains of Basilan to limit the movement of the Abu Sayyaf group, said Col. Juvymax Uy, chief of the 104th Infantry Brigade and Joint Task Force Basilan said.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with