|(Gen Gregorio Pio P Catapang Jr)|
Pulish in Rappler.com
SULU, Philippines – Philippine military chief Gregorio Catapang and
Sulu, the troubled island in the southern Philippines is back in international headlines.Local terrorist group Abu Sayyaf uses its 2 German hostages to ride on the ISIS ideology sweeping the Middle East and attracting followers all over the world.
The Abu Sayyaf is asking for P250-million in ransom, that and a commitment from Germany to withdraw its support from the US-led war against the ISIS.
The Philippine military chief arrives in Jolo, Sulu five days before the Abu Sayyaf's deadline. If their demands are not met by Friday, they say they will kill one of the hostages. The mission is clear: hunt down the terrorists and secure their release.
It is General Catapang’s first trip to Sulu since he became Philippine military chief. He says trust him and his classmate, Western Mindanao Command Lieutenant General Rustico Guerrero.
The Philippines has its own history of extremism in Mindanao. It is no surprise that the ISIS ideology is attracting followers here and other parts of the county. But the military maintains there are no operational links between ISIS and the Philippines. What the Abu Sayyaf is doing is get international attention.
The Abu Sayyaf may pay lip service to the jihadist movement, but the government sees it as a kidnap-for-ransom group.
Repeat photo of German hostages Analysts say the Abu Sayyaf is only interested in the ransom.
Like others before him, Catapang dreams of ending the Abu Sayyaf threat and bringing peace to Sulu.
He and his classmate have a lot of work to do.