By Restituto Cayubit
CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar — The commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division (8ID) of the Philippine Army has denied the presence or sighting of members of the Abu Sayyaf in Eastern Visayas.
Major General Raul Farnacio, 8ID commanding general, allayed fears that members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) had been sighted in the region.
Gen. Farnacio branded the reports as “a fabrication.”
He clarified that those seen in Sta. Fe, Leyte and in Dolores in Eastern Samar were members of the Balik Islam group — part of the Muslim communities in Eastern Visayas — who are helping the government in hunting down members of terror groups in the region.
The general said his office has intensified its intelligence information gathering and coordinated with the police and other authorities in Eastern Visayas to ensure public safety, notably to protect tourists who are visiting the region.