August 10, 2018
BONGAO, Tawi-Tawi - The military have occupied an island near the border with Malaysia, denying the Abu Sayyaf a safe haven and staging point of piracy and kidnapping.
Brig. Gen. Custodio Parcon, Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi commander, said they have established a camp after they recently invaded Panguan island in Sibutu town where they drove away the Abu Sayyaf.
“We conducted beach-landing operations and established a camp in Panguan,” Parcon said in an interview Friday, citing the island is locally known as Malamanok.
Sibutu was created out of Sitangkai by virtue of Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 197,which was ratified in a plebiscite on October 21, 2006.
Parcon disclosed the Abu Sayyaf bandits had utilized the island as an observatory area and jump-off point for piracy and kidnappings since it is near Mataking, an island resort in Malaysia.
He said the Abu Sayyaf also used Panguan Island as a resting and refueling place in staging kidnappings in Malaysia or at high seas victimizing seafarers.
The Abu Sayyaf had seized more than a dozen seafarers, mostly foreigners, from cargo ships that pass near Panguan Island, Sibutu.
They are still holding 10 people, including five foreigners, captive in Sulu. DMS
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