Save Sulu Movement urges Senate to conduct inquiry on Sulu Local Officials’ connivance with ASG

In a media statement released on May 4, 2017, Save Sulu Movement called on the Senate to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the palpable connivance between some local officials of Sulu and the Abu Sayaaf Group (ASG).

The Movement also recommended to Congress to criminalize the giving and payment of ransom and the receipt of ransom in the guise of negotiation.  It is sickening to keep on hearing the NO-ransom policy when everyone knows too well that ransom is actually being paid and brokered by the local government officials thus perpetuating the business of ASG.

While welcoming the pronouncement of the new Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año that the ASG will be history by June, it considers the statement as only good for media sound-bites as the story of kidnapping has become a cottage industry with local officials acting as promoters, brokers and protectors.

In the statement, the Movement also urged the kidnapped victims to cooperate with the authorities so that we can finally bring the kidnappers to the bar of justice. It urged the Committee on Muslim Affairs in Congress to conduct public hearings in Sulu and personally listen to the stories of the people on the ground.
“NOW is the time to achieve and fulfill the avowed promise of “Tunay na Pagbabago”.  We expect no less from a President who comes from Mindanao and who truly understands the dynamics of the conflict in this region”, the Movement stressed in their statement.

More than anyone, the people of Sulu are the most interested sector of our society that desperately wants to finish the Abu Sayyaf problem right at this very moment.  We have constantly cooperated with the military and provided information in order to neutralize the Abu Sayyaf.  We have repeatedly informed the authorities that the reason why the ASG is still active and even growing is because it is enjoying the protection of local officials who are protecting the Abu Sayyaf and receiving lion share in the ransom money.  The ASG is also reported to be buying weapons from local politicians who can easily smuggle firearms or purchase it from the military itself.
The new Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año also pronounced that the ASG will be history by June.  The problem with these statements is that these are only good for media sound-bites.  The ground unfolds a totally different story of kidnapping becoming a cottage industry with local officials acting as promoters, brokers and protectors.