THE government will enforce the law once civilians affected by the ongoing fighting between and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) have been secured, a Palace official said on Friday.
Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ramon Carandang said that aside from removing the civilians from harm’s way the military is also working to contain the conflict in Sulu.
The MNLF, which forged a peace deal with the government in 1996, has to explain later on its recent actions against the Abu Sayyaf, Carandang said.
“Everybody has to follow the law and the law will be enforced but, as I said yesterday, what’s the most important thing right now is for us to ensure the safety of the civilians,” he said in a press briefing in Malacanang on Friday.
Asked by reporters if the MNLF should have coordinated with the military in launching its attack against the Abu Sayyaf, Carandang said, the President didn’t sanction MNLF’s Sulu operations.
“As the President said, that’s not sanctioned. So we just need to wait until the first priority has been dealt with before we deal with other things,” the Palace official said, adding that government's major concern is the safety of civilians in the conflict area.
The military said it would deploy troops in areas in Sulu to contain the fighting.
Reports said eight MNLF fighters were killed and beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf Group, while 18 of the bandits were confirmed dead in the fighting that started Saturday. (PND)