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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Overrunning ASG camps key to curb terrorism in Basilan

by Rene V. Carbayas

ISABELA CITY, Basilan – When enemies of State occupy territories and establish camps, this creates opportunities for terror to expand and misery to thrive.

Since the 1990s, the notorious Abu Sayyfas had been terrorizing the people of Basilan and stretched its evil hands out to its neighboring provinces and cities. They have even pledged allegiance to ISIS to boost its intention to create widespread fear and uncertainties not only in Basilan, but in the entire country as well.

When President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his recent visit in Basilan, ordered the complete eradication of the Abu Sayyafs until the last bandit, the military’s relentless pursuit operation at the hinterlands of the island took off unwaveringly.

President Duterte’s strong pronouncements versus terrorism have echoed to the hearts of the soldiers that boosted their morale to help the people of Basilan to attain peace now.

The president’s firm resolve has gained results. On Aug 15, elements from the 104TH Brigade led by the 4TH Special Forces Battalion finally seized the enemy’s stronghold at Barangay Silangkum, Tipo-Tipo, Basilan Province. The hill is the ASG’s last stronghold after the terrorists went on the run from the relentless military operation that started in July.

Last Sunday (Aug 14), Special Forces troops from the 4TH Special Forces Battalion, 2ND  Special Forces Battalion and SF Combat Qualification Course (SFCQC) students were able to simultaneously seize and control Barangay Baguindan Proper, Tipo-Tipo and Hill 440 (Kawilan Hill), a strategic stronghold of the ASGs.

1LT Ron Villarosa, Public Affairs Officer, 4TH Special Force Battalion said that the decisive terrain serves to secure the enemy’s vital mobility and supply corridor and also stands as a monument to intimidate nearby communities. The combined arms assault from the Special Forces, other elite counter terrorism units and Light Armor Cavalry Troops with support from massive artillery fires forced the enemy to abandon their stronghold.

Villarosa said that forging alliance with locals and key peace stakeholders like the MNLF has helped a lot in the successful takeover of ASG strongholds by government troops.

For him, such is just a glimpse of the Elite Special Forces’ ability to wage an unseen war within the hearts and the minds of the populace. Living up as silent professionals, the 4TH Special Forces Battalion is in the forefront on the “war on terror” in Basilan Province - silently doing their share of such critical task - without fanfare or trumpet’s blare. #50FirstDays #PartnerForChange