- Incoming DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said defeating the bandit group will be top military priority as ordered by Duterte
- The Abu sayyaf’s kidnapping acitivities are already affecting the country economically, Lorenzana said
- Duterte said the Abu Sayyaf has given the country a bad image
Incoming Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said President Rodrigo Duterte wants the neutralization of the Abu Sayyaf Group to be the top military priority.
As noted in an ABS-CBN article, Lorenzana shared that the kidnapping activities of the Islamic extremist group has already been affecting the country economically. The terror group recently beheaded two Canadian hostages and kidnapped seven Indonesians.
“Our first priority is the Abu Sayyaf because that is the order of our new president: address the Abu Sayyaf immediately so we can neutralize them,” he told members of the media.
The abduction of seven Indonesians is feared to bring dire consequences to the Philippine economy.
The Indonesian government imposed a moratorium on coal export to the Philippines, which is highly-reliant on coal to produce electricity, because of the kidnappings.
The Philippines can always import coal from other sources such as Australia and Russia, but at a higher cost due to their geographical distance from our country. The higher cost of coal would translate to higher electricity cost that would be an added burden to power consumers.
On June 24, Duterte vowed to confront the Abu Sayyaf and stop them from continuing their kidnapping-for-ransom operations that has tarnished the image of the Philippines in the global stage.
Although he said the confrontation is not yet forthcoming, Duterte said there will be a time before he directly takes on the bandits.
“It is not yet forthcoming alam ko, but their kidnapping must stop. It has given us a bad image,” Duterte said on the day Filipina hostage Marites Flor was released by the Abu Sayyaf.