DAVAO CITY — Mayor Rodrigo Duterte assured the public that the city remains safe amid the ongoing security operations against the kidnappers of three foreigners and a Filipina in Samal Island last Monday night.

“Davao City is very safe. There will be no kidnapping here of foreigners,” Duterte told the media in a briefing Thursday afternoon.

Duterte also said the incident could have been an intelligence failure recalling a command conference where they discussed about the security in the Island Garden City of Samal months ago.

“Sorry to say, I do not want to disappoint the people from the intelligence community,” he said.

Duterte, who chairs the Regional Peace and Order Council said there was a Task Force Samal created “to guard the island.” “Because you have to guard every inch of the coast,” he said.

He said during the previous months they have discussed raw information that could possibly lead to a similar incident last Monday night “because we saw some high-powered motorboats with two Volvo engines and they are very powerful at high speed.”

“It’s impossible for us to really give chase, especially at night. You would need fighter jets to go after it but only if there is light,” he said.

“There’s a Task Force Samal for that, I don’t know what happened,” he said.

“We cannot lie about it because it’s really true that this was this unit created just to keep watch,” he said.

However, Duterte admitted that Samal which measures 301.3 kilometers squared is a big island which “you cannot guard every inch of the way.”

In 2011, Igacos mulled in forming Task Force Samal which will be under the supervision of the Task Force Davao.

In a previous Philippine Information Agency article, former commander of TFD, Col. Rey Guerrero said that “the focus of these future SCAAs (Special CAFGU Active Auxiliary  Company) will be on stopping illegal fishing, anti-piracy, anti-terrorism, anti-drugs and law enforcement.”

Duterte also dismissed theories that the perpetrators are a new group.

“I don’t think it’s a new group, if they are not criminals then they must be connected with somewhere else,” he said.

Duterte also added that the group “must be professionals to do it.”

“Maybe they have participated in some kidnapping before. We saw on the (close circuit television) camera  the movement was very precise. They did not exhibit hesitancy or fear just to look around if somebody else was at the back,” he said.

“I would think eventually they would identify themselves with any of the Muslim factions. But I doubt it. As of now, I do not have an inkling really,” he said.

Duterte said an official of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) he talked to recently has pledged to help.

“I have called the MILF, Sonny Davao the chief there, and asked him to help us. Sabi niya tutulong sila (He said they will help),”said Duterte.

Duterte also said that if the suspects and their hostages are in the mountains of Davao “the (New People’s Army) would know where they are.”

Duterte also said he does not believe the NPAs are responsible for the abduction.

“Definitely that is not the style of the NPA. The NPAs do not kidnap for money. And it’s an ideological thing,” he said.

“The only thing they would kidnap would be me and the soldiers and the policemen and navy, but not civilians who have no part in this war,” he said.

Duterte added that he will be willing to offer himself to the suspects in exchange of the hostages. (davatoday.com)

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