No proof Abu Sayyaf targeted Asean summit in Bohol, says gov

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 20 2017 11:08 AM

MANILA - Bohol Governor Edgardo Chatto on Thursday downplayed speculation that the Abu Sayyaf had planned to attack the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit meetings being hosted by the province.

The Abu Sayyaf penetrated a far-flung village in Inabanga, Bohol last week, trigger a day-long clash that killed 6 rebels and 4 members of the security forces.

The clash occurred just days before some 200 ranking delegates from Asean member-countries flocked to Bohol for a series of meetings on April 18 to 22. 

"Hindi po namin malaman kung ito (Asean) talaga ang target. Kasi hindi naman talaga sila natuloy at saka walang recovered documents that would say so," Chatto said in an interview with radio DZMM. 

(We cannot confirm if Asean was the real target, because the terrorists were thwarted and we did not recover documents that would say so.) 

He also noted that Inabanga lies 80 to 90 kilometers away from the Asean meeting venues in Tagbilaran and Panglao towns. 

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier warned Abu Sayyaf might try to "create a disaster" at the event. 

He said he wanted civilians to support the manhunt on Bohol and offered a reward of P6 million for 6 Abu Sayyaf fighters who were still at-large in Inabanga. 

Bohol has gone on full alert status for the Asean summit as authorities hunt down the fugitives, Chatto said. 

Neighboring provinces have also deployed police reinforcements in Bohol, one of the country's most popular tourist destinations. 

Chatto said tourists should not fear for their safety in Bohol. 

"Inaanyayahan natin iyung mayroon nang mga booking, mayroon nang mga ticket, huwag kayong mag-cancel kasi very safe naman ang buong probinsya ngayon. We are trying to do our best to make sure na protected po lahat ng mga andito," he said. 

(We are urging those who have already paid for bookings and tickets not to cancel their visit to Bohol because it is very safe in the entire province. We are trying to do our best to make that everyone is protected.)

Asean delegates have kicked off the first day of their trade meetings at a hotel in Panglao around 8 am. 

Asean delegates arrive for the first day of their trade meeting in Bohol. Jude Torres, ABS-CBN News

Asean delegates arrive for the first day of their trade meeting in Bohol. Jude Torres, ABS-CBN News

Asean delegates arrive for the first day of their trade meeting in Bohol. Jude Torres, ABS-CBN News

Summit organizers and the Philippine Information Agency said members of the media will not be allowed to cover the closed-door meeting. 

-- With a report from Jude Torres, ABS-CBN News