Palawan on high alert following warning of Abu Sayyaf kidnap gang

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Abu Sayyaf are notorious for kidnap and murder. Intelligence suggests they may be planning a raid on Palawan.

Palawan’s security forces are on “heightened alert” after intelligence reports suggested that Abu Sayyaf was planning a kidnap raid on the island.

In a statement issued yesterday (Sunday, August 12), Lieutenant General Rozzano Briguez said the WESCOM [Western Command] was increasing its “security posturing in Palawan against all forms of threats”.

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He added: “WESCOM is grateful to our security partners and concerned citizens for proactively sharing with us vital security information. 

“WESCOM is validating all this information and is taking appropriate actions. We remain on heightened alert. All our units are undertaking appropriate security measures.”

WESCOM’s air and naval forces are now conducting increased patrols, while its Marines and Army special forces are working to identify potential points of entry for the Islamic State-affiliated terror group.

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Lt. Gen. Briguez added that the military were being supported by the police and coast guard, as well as the local community. 

He also urged the the public to remain vigilant and to report any unfamiliar faces or suspicious activity. Anyone with concerns should call 09178 960014.

He said: “WESCOM and the Palaweños take security and safety very seriously and we work together to ensure that these criminals will not be able to succeed with their evil plans. 

“Even before this information came out, WESCOM and the Palaweños have already united and established a strong foundation and mutual commitment to security, and we also have our reporting and info sharing mechanism in place.”

As we reported on Saturday, the alarm was first raised by Provincial Peace and Order Council member Teodoro Jose Matta. He said his organisation had received credible intelligence that a Sulu-based cell of the terror group may already have departed for Palawan.

This was not the first kidnap alert issued for Palawan. In May last year, we reported how the US Embassy in Manila issued an alert, warning that the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park was an area of particular concern.

Abu Sayyaf have also been responsible for kidnapping and beheading hostages, including Canadians John Risdel and Robert Hall.

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