Arroyo Outraged by Beheading, Orders Troops to Neutralize Abu Sayyaf

Apr. 20, 2007

MANILA — Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered today government troops to work on neutralizing the Abu Sayyaf Group terrorists as she condemned the beheading of the groups seven captives in Sulu this week.

In a statement, the President said the “Abu Sayyafs acts of terror will not go unpunished” and that the government would deal with it as an internal security matter.

“The beheading of the seven captives in Sulu once again demonstrates the Abu Sayyafs ruthlessness and only strengthens our resolve to neutralize them,” the President said.

“Our troops are committed to the singular objective of obliteration, while keeping civilians out of danger zones,” she stressed.

The President also reiterated that the country record in the fight against terrorism and terror acts is clear: “The Philippines has zero tolerance for terrorists, within and even beyond our borders.”

Reports said the seven beheaded captivessix workers on a road project and one in a dried fish factory — were snatched at gunpoint on Monday in two separate incidents. The Abu Sayyaf had demanded P5 million ransom for their release.

Believing that peace and security are essential factors in economic prosperity, and that terror acts are a direct threat to it (economic prosperity), the Philippines has led other nations in the region and even in the world in the fight against terrorism.

In fact, it spearheaded the creation of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperations Anti-Terrorism Task Force with retired Gen. Benjamin Defensor as chair, in a move to secure the Asia-Pacific region from terrorist acts.

During the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit hosted by the Philippines in Cebu in January, the ASEAN leaders, through the able chairmanship of the Philippines, adopted the ASEAN Convention on Terrorism which calls for greater cooperation among member- nations in the fight against all acts of terror.

In the homefront, the President has waged an all-out war against extremist groups that include the Abu Sayyaf. (OPS)

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