Tourists in Bohol were advised to "stay and continue their vacation" even as security forces continue to go after Abu Sayyaf fighters in parts of the province, a military official said Tuesday.
Government troops engaged 10 Abu Sayyaf members believed to be from Sulu in a firefight early morning Tuesday after residents reported the sighting of pump boats carrying armed men along the Inabanga River.
Tourists in Bohol are encouraged to stay and continue their vacations because security forces are already on the case, Col. Edgard Arevalo, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Public Affairs chief, told reporters.
At least 5 of the suspected terrorists have been neutralized as of 2 p.m., and the government expects to round up the remaining bandits and close the operation "before the day ends," AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla told ABS-CBN News.
Military officials also lauded the local community's vigilance that led to the immediate operation against the armed men.
"Government security forces simply reinforced the vigilance of the Boholanos who organized themselves into a strong force to keep the province safe from any threat group," the AFP said in a statement.
"If a community will be very vigilant, kaya natin 'tong terrorists," Maj. Gen. Oscar Lactao of the AFP Central Command said.