SENATOR Richard Gordon has warned of the possibility that other countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, among others, would “invade” the Philippines to rescue their abducted citizens, similar to Operation Entebbe.
He said that this scenario is not farfetched should the Philippine government fail to stop the local terrorists, Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), from abducting foreign nationals.
Gordon lamented that the Abu Sayyaf has been ferrying hostages abducted from other provinces and other neighboring countries to Sulu yet the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) seem “incapable” of spotting them or catching up with them.
He noted that Operation Entebbe was a successful counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission carried out by commandos of the Israel Defense Forces in Entebbe Airport in Uganda on July 4, 1976.
“Ang ikinatatakot ko, baka mamaya kapag nag-hostage iyan, gawin sa atin iyong ginawa sa Uganda by Israel, 4,000 kilometers they flew from Israel to Uganda in Africa and they liberated the Israeli hostages. Nag-mukhang tanga iyong Uganda,” said Gordon.
“That can happen here. In fact, I think it has happened before when Malaysia took over for a while a village in Sulu to get some of their hostages, a long, long time ago,” he added.
Gordon has called on the PCG to bolster its patrolling capability as the Abu Sayyaf bandits continue to ferry hostages to Sulu undetected and shabu chemicals and other materials smuggled into the country through its maritime borders.
He said the government could address these problems if the PCG would add more manpower and acquire more vessels and equipment to improve its capability in guarding the country’s waters.
Although there is a need to purchase big patrol ships, Gordon said the PCG would be more efficient in guarding the country’s waters if it would also procure smaller but faster boats which are more “cost effective and more functional.”
“If we have that 24-meter vessel as a mother ship, you can buy six smaller but faster, more cost effective and functional boats so hindi naman sila dehado kung makabangga sila ng Abu Sayyaf,” he said.
“Mas mabilis tayo, mas mabubuntutan nila ang mga Abu Sayyaf at mas mahahabol. Ang gusto ba natin parang iyong porma natin maganda pero hindi naman makahabol. Positional warfare lang tayo,” he added.
Gordon also cited reports that pointed to the possibility that vessels exporting sand from the Philippines are carrying chemicals for manufacturing methamphetamine or shabu during their return journey to the Philippines.
He said this could be the reason why big shabu laboratories have been discovered in provinces where black sand or sand mining and exporting operations are conducted such as in Cagayan.
“Apparently, when the ships bringing sand to China go back to the Philippines to haul more sand, these vessels are loaded with shabu raw materials and chemicals. That’s why we have a proliferation of shabu. It’s about time that we plug these holes,” he said.