With Abu Sayyaf bandits continuing to ferry hostages to Sulu undetected and shabu chemicals and other materials smuggled into the country through its maritime borders, Senator Richard J. Gordon has called on the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to bolster its patrolling capability.

Gordon pointed out that the government could plug these holes if the PCG would add more manpower and acquire more vessels and equipment to improve its capability in guardING the country's waters.

He added that the PCG could procure the big ship that it has its eyes on but it would be more efficient in guarding the country's waters if it would also procure smaller but faster boats which are more cost effective and more functional.

"If we have that 24-meter vessel AS a mother ship, you can buy six smaller but faster, more cost effective and functional boats so hindi naman sila dehado kung makabangga sila ng Abu Sayyaf. Mas mabilis tayo, mas mabubuntutan nila ang mga Abu Sayyaf at mas mahahabol. Ang gusto ba natin parang iyong porma natin maganda pero hindi naman makahabol. Positional warfare lang tayo," the senator stressed.

He lamented that the Abu Sayyaf has been ferrying hostages abducted from other provinces and other neighboring countries to Sulu yet the PCG seem incapable of spotting them or catching up with them.

Gordon warned of the possibility that should the Philippine government be unable to stop the ASG bandits' abduction activities, other countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, among others, would invade the Philippines to rescue their abducted citizens, similar to Operation Entebbe. The said operation was a successful counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission carried out by commandos of the Israel Defense Forces IN Entebbe Airport in Uganda on July 4, 1976.

"Ang ikinatatakot ko, baka mamaya kapag nag-hostage iyan, gawin sa atin iyong ginawa sa Uganda by Israel, 4,000 kilometers they flew from Israel to Uganda in Africa and they liberated the Israeli hostages. Nag-mukhang tanga iyong Uganda. That can happen here. In fact, I think it has happened before when Malaysia took over for a while a village in Sulu to get some of their hostages, a long, long time ago," he said.

Gordon also cited reports that pointed to the possibility that vessels exporting sand from the Philippines are carrying chemicals for manufacturing metamphetamine or shabu during their return journey to the Philippines. He added this could be the reason why big shabu laboratories have been discovered in provinces where black sand or sand mining and exporting operations are conducted such as in Cagayan.

"Apparently, when the ships bringing sand to China go back to the Philippines to haul more sand, these vessels are loaded with shabu raw materials and chemicals. That's why we have a proliferation of shabu. It's about time that we plug these holes," he said.

Source: Senate of the Philippines

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