By Rey Anthony Chiu
“The deadline has passed but we are not letting our guards down,” Col. Romeo Brawner told the Provincial Peace and Order Council during a meeting at the Bohol Tropics Thursday January 13.
“We are fortunate that we have surpassed the deadline set by Abu to kidnap foreign foreigners,” Brawner said during the recent assessment of the peace and security situation in Bohol.
“We will not let our guards down, we will maintain security not only in Panglao but the whole of Bohol as well, our boats will remain in the area and our focus will remain in place,” he added.
Governor Edgar Chatto also echoed Brawner pronouncements saying “The most critical moments are when we believe the danger has passed.”
Brawner, who leads the army Special Forces Battalion cited the intelligence report that said a band of Abu Sayaff bandits were heading to Bohol on a double-engine speedboat Monday January 10 to kidnap two foreign tourists.
Brawner also confirmed that the same intelligence report which said that the deadline for the operation was within January 10-11.
“Bohol was indeed a target for kidnapping by Abusayyaf, our Manila intelligence has confirmed,” Brawner shared.
Immediately after receiving the intelligence report, which was validated and was said to have come from a reliable agent in Zamboanga, police and military authorities in Bohol rolled into motion security operations and crisis management planning to get the most immediate deterrent assets in the general area where the hit was supposed to happen.
PSSupt Constantino Barot also immediately placed Bohol under a heightened security alert even as he directed the deployment of additional police troops, augmented police stations located within Panglao island and neighboring tourist islands of Balicasag and Pamilacan.
The Philippine Navy also sent a patrol boat while the Army Special Forces also deployed their sea asset to beef up security operations in the seas.
Barot also bared that the Philippine Air Force has committed an attack and a utility chopper for the operations of the area south of Bohol.
On this, Governor Edgar Chatto stressed that “Our preparedness would never be substituted by anything else.”
We should always have the capability to respond not only to the present, but future dangers and threats, Chatto told PPOC members. (racPIABohol)