MANILA -- Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Tuesday urged the government to prioritize the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and other local ISIS (Islamic State) groups over drug traffickers as they are a bigger threat to the national image.
Recto made this statement after the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) confirmed the beheading of German national Juergen Gustav Kantner in Sulu after the deadline for ransom payment elapsed on Sunday.
"In terms of damage to the national image, the Abu Sayyaf has caused more than what a hundred drug syndicates had done," Recto said.
"If there is "one group of addicts" government should run after, then it must be the "murderous Abu Sayyaf," he added.
Recto pointed out that there will be "zero public outcry" if there will be a rise in the number of Abu Sayyaf killed describing it as "the kind of body count the people would welcome."
"These terrorists have been in the beheading business for 25 years now. It's been a generation. This should come to an end," Recto said.
He further described the ASG as the "most violent criminal syndicate" in the country today that it has already made it among Asia's most brutal groups.
The senator said that while the total funds of Abu Sayyaf has been estimated to be more than a billion pesos, the losses they had inflicted on the economy has yet to be determined.
Recto, meanwhile, said one immediate concern is to stop the Abu Sayyaf from snatching more hostages.
He said that what is giving the national image "a black eye" is that the Abu Sayyaf is using the country as "kidnap grounds."
Many of the Abu Sayyaf hostages were grabbed on boats transiting through Philippine waters in the unprotected Southern backdoor
"Their inventory of captives for ransom must not increase. There could be hindrances in rescuing hostages. But none in preventing them from kidnapping more," Recto said.
Plug the source
Recto said that he agreed that the current campaign against illegal drugs should continue but that it should be on the manufacturing front.
"Instead of knocking on homes, the police should be battering down gates of shabu labs," Recto said.
"If ever the war on drugs should be scaled up, then it must be to plug the source," he added.
The senator further said that by stopping the supply of drugs, the demand for it is also stopped. (PNA) JBP/ANP and NowilynPegollo (OJT)
Source: Philippines News Agency