Showing posts with label Acting Interior Secretary Eduardo Año. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Acting Interior Secretary Eduardo Año. Show all posts

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Bohol celebrates heroism a year after foiled Abu attack

I was in Panglao when media friends --Ric Obedendio and Dave Charles Responte-- informed me about the clash in Inabanga  town on April 11, 2017. When I told them I was interested to cover it, they fetched me in Panglao and rushed to the battlefield. At 10:30 a.m., we arrived in Barangay Napo. We met residents fleeing their homes from barangays Napo, Calenti and Banahao who were scared of being hit as bombs were being dropped. Other media friends from Bohol (Mike Ligalig and Chito Visarra) and Cebu arrived later in the afternoon. 

Kids at the top of military tanks carried
 placards on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, during
 first commemoration of the Bohol clash, when 
11 members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) entered
 Bohol province and never made it out.  Leo Udtohan
The following day, other media friends Allen Doydora, Ern Pahayahay and Helen Castaño joined us in the battlefield.  When we were told that some ASG members were still hiding, we ran looking for shelter.   A resident gave us water to drink to sustain.

Your media friends reported the clash and what followed.  We thanked our “foster families” in Clarin and Pangangan Island in Calape town for converting their houses  into a “media center,” until the last two remaining ASG members were killed.

After one year, the incident was still fresh.  It was a day to remember that the ASG landed in Bohol and never made it out.

Officials of the Bohol provincial government chose to commemorate, instead of forget, the attempt of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) last year to establish a base in Inabanga town last Wednesday, April 11.

The clash killed three Army soldiers, a policeman and two civilians, and displaced hundreds of families during the firefight that lasted for a month and spanned three towns.

Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto explained they were celebrating, not the entry of the Abu Sayyaf, but the heroism shown by the government troops who were relentless in hunting down the bandit group until all 11 were killed as well as the community involvement that enabled authorities to learn about their entry.

The switch-on ceremony of the road project 
that links Barangays Datag to Napo, Inabanga town
 and Libertad to Tan-wan in Tubigon town led by 
Acting Interior Secretary Eduardo Año. It was also 
witnessed by Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto, Inabanga 
Mayor Josephine Socorro Jumamoy and other officials.  
Leo Udtohan
“We are celebrating the positive value of heroism that was showcased because of that challenge. It is something worth remembering. It is something worth celebrating,” said Chatto.

Chatto led the ceremony that commemorated the first anniversary of the attempt of the bandit group to establish a base in Inabanga where they planned to launch kidnapping and terrorism activities in nearby provinces.

Members of the Inabanga Theatre Group held a dance drama that reenacted the events of April 11, 2017 when 11 men on board three kumpits (two-engine motorboats) arrived in Barangay Napo, Inabanga.

The children saw the group who were led by Napo native, Joselito Melloria as well as high-powered firearms with “bullets as big as corn ears.” They told their parents who then passed the information to the village officials who then told the police.

Combined forces of the police and Army arrived and a firefight ensued –something that was not seen in Bohol despite the presence of communist insurgents in some towns. Residents of Napo and nearby villages fled as the Philippine Air Force dropped bombs to flush out the bandits who were in hiding.

Four ASG members including bomb expert Abu Rami were killed during the initial assault. But also killed were three soldiers and one policeman and two civilians. The seven others fled to nearby Clarin town where Melloria was later killed.

At the height of Clarin clash, law enforcers arrested Supt. Ma. Cristina Nobleza and her husband Abu Sayyaf bomber Reenor Lou Dungon, Judith Dungon and a minor who allegedly tried to rescue the remaining Abu Sayyaf members.

Hunger prompted Abu Saad to surrender in Tubigon town but was killed by police after he allegedly tried to escape from prison.

The last two ASG members- Ubayda and Asis were killed in a firefight in Calape town on May 15, 2017, which ended the month-long operation.

The three kumpits used by the bandits as well as the military tanks and weapons used by the government troops were on display in a one-day exhibit outside the municipal gymnasium in Inabanga last Wednesday.

Also launched during the commemoration was SAFE Bohol (Security Always for Everyone: Boholano Bayanihan), a movement inspired by the community involvement that led to the discovery of the Abu Sayyaf 
Reporting from the battlefield- (l-r) Ric Obedencio
 (The Freeman/PhilStar), Dave Charles Responte
(dyTR)   Ern Pahayahay (dyTR), Allen Doydora
 (dyRD) and Helen Castaño in Barangay Napo
 in Inabanga town on April 12, 2017.   
Leo Udtohan
presence in Inabanga.

PO2 Rey Anthony Nazareno, 2nd Lieutenant Espelito Saldua, Jr, Corporal Meljun Cajaban, Sergeant John Dexter Duero who perished during the clash were also remembered and honored.

 Acting Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, who was the guest of honor, said the vigilance of Boholano community and the military’s tough and focused stance were the reasons why the Abu Sayyaf didn't succeed.

“Dito sa Inabanga is one ideal example on how the government, the NGOS (nongovernment organizations), the local government enforcement agencies, law enforcement agencies and local populace worked together and defeated the Abu Sayyaf threat,” said Año.

Part of the activities on Wednesday was the launching of the road project that links Barangays Datag to Napo, Inabanga town and Libertad to Tan-wan in Tubigon town.

 For so long time, Barangay Napo in Inabanga has been isolated because there is no access road that connects it to any existing road. It can only be reached by boat through the Inabanga river or on foot passing through mountainous trails.

Chatto said that with the assistance of Año, it is hoped that this project can be completed that will give positive impact to the communities in the said barangays.

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