PNP declares ‘enhanced’ offensive vs. BIFF

PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar (File photo)

MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar on Sunday ordered police units to intensify offensive against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Eleazar made the directive following Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.’s observation of heightened recruitment activities and increased attacks by the BIFF amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I agree with our Presidential Peace Adviser, Sec. Carlito Galvez, that it is easy now for the BIFF to recruit members because the pandemic has severely affected the livelihood of many people in Mindanao,” Eleazar said in a statement. “Ito ang sinasamantala ng BIFF, ang kagutuman at kawalan ng trabaho ng ilan sa ating mga kababayan (The BIFF is taking advantage of hunger and the lack of job opportunities).”

He said to prevent the BIFF’s recruitment and attacks, the PNP will further enhance its intelligence operations against the group and conduct aggressive police operations.

“Mas paiigtingin pa natin ang presensya ng pulis para hindi na makaporma pa ang grupong ito (We will intensify the police presence as deterrence to what they are planning to do),” he said.

Eleazar, however, said the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) still need the public’s help to successfully stop the BIFF from getting more members.

“This needs a whole-of-nation approach. Aside from the police and military, other government agencies and stakeholders also have roles to play in preventing recruitment by the BIFF,” Eleazar explained.

Meanwhile, Eleazar said there was no failure of intelligence among state security forces as both the military and the police remain vigilant amid the pandemic.

“Kahit naman po may pandemya, nakatutok pa rin ang inyong mga pulis at sundalo sa pagpapanatili ng seguridad sa bawat komunidad, at kasama na dito ‘yung pagmo-monitor natin sa pwersa ng kalaban (Despite the pandemic, your police and the military are focused to maintain security of every community, and that’s includes monitoring the forces of the enemies). We have not and cannot let our guards down against these local terror groups,” Eleazar stressed. (PNA)

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