CAMP COL ABENDAN, Zamboanga City – The Police Regional Office 9 (PRO-9) is fully committed to ensure the protection and safety of all local and foreign tourists who might visit the different tourist spots across the region. Police Brigadier General Emmanuel Luis D Licup, PRO9 Director said local police forces in the region assures the visiting local and foreign tourists that they are doing everything to keep the whole Zamboanga Peninsula safe with the help of the respective local government units as well as the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Known to be a destabilizer to the prevailing peace and order and national security in the region, the ASG, a local terrorist group and other criminal groups has been sowing terror and engaged in kidnapping activities in the past years thereby posing security threats across the region. The Regional Director stressed out that the local police is continuously intensifying its operations against these groups in the areas of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga City to include Isabela City in the province of Basilan.
Based on the existing data, the Police Regional Office 9 has already neutralized a total of 79 members of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the region since 2016. Of the 79 neutralized, 4 of them died and 75 were arrested during the law enforcement operations. Significant downtrends of kidnapping incident were also recorded in the region wherein of the 25 kidnapping incidents registered, 9 of it occurred in 2016, 3 happened in 2017 while 13 occurred in 2018 and zero incident recorded in 2019. Meanwhile, at least 22 kidnapped victims were rescued/ released and 3 others are still being held in captivity.
The Regional Director also said the implementation of Martial Law in Zamboanga Peninsula Region, relentless government offensives against the pro-ISIS groups to include the ASG and different target hardening measures have weakened the terrorist’s resolve to engage in kidnapping. Moreover, the intensified crack down on this dreaded group, persistent police and military operations and defection of some of its members in the nearby provinces reduced the groups’ capability to launch their nefarious activities.
With this positive development, Police Brigadier General Emmanuel Luis D Licup, PRO9 Director is encouraging the public to help the government forces especially the local police in the fight against the pro-ISIS groups to include the ASG who might sow terror or engage in kidnapping activities in their respective localities by reporting to the nearby police stations or military outpost. He also directed the field units to coordinate with the local tourism agency for the security of the visiting local and foreign tourist in their area.