The Philippine Star, Sunday, March 21, 2010
By: Jaime Laude
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Navy is deploying a fleet of gunboats to strategic areas in Mindanao and the Visayas to hasten the defeat of the Abu Sayyaf terrorists.
Navy spokesperson Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo said they will deploy newly-repaired gunboats BRP Rajah Humabon (PF 11), BRP Apolinario Mabini (PS 36), BRP General Mariano Alvarez (PS 38), BRP Simeon Castro (PG 374), BRP Apollo Tiano (PG 851), and BRP Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo (PG 140).
An elite Marine company will also be dispatched to Basilan to support the ongoing operations against the Abu Sayyaf and other lawless groups in the island province.
Navy chief Vice Admiral Ferdinand Golez will preside over the send off ceremony tomorrow at the Navy’s headquarters.
To boost the morale of the Marines, the Navy invited the winners of the Binibining Pilipinas 2010 beauty pageant to be present at the send off.
“Considering the dangers of the task, the Navy will remain committed to the performance of their sworn duties to protect the people and preserve the sovereignty and integrity of the nation,” Arevalo said.
After assuming command of the military’s 125,000-strong force, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Delfin Bangit vowed to crush the Abu Sayyaf within 60 days.
Bangit has directed the three major services – the Army, the Air Force and the Navy – to pool their resources for the operation.