Public urged: Show no fear of terrorism
MANILA - It is business as usual in Bohol province after a deadly gun battle between Abu Sayyaf fighters and government forces claimed 10 lives and drove hundreds of residents away from their homes, officials said Wednesday.
Four state troopers and 6 extremists were killed as they exchanged fire in Inabanga town Tuesday, 2 days after the US government warned that gunmen might carry out kidnappings in Central Visayas.
Army Central Command (Centcom) chief Maj. Gen. Oscar Lactao and Maj. Gen John Aying have "cleared" Bohol, said provincial administrator Alfonso Damalerio II.
"They declared Bohol cleared na today and business as usual," Damalerio said.
Commerce and tourism in Bohol, one of the country's most popular tourist spots, have also become "normal and stable" again, the administrator added.
Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto meanwhile said hundreds of residents who fled from Tuesday's crossfire may return to their homes this afternoon, as soon as they get a go signal from the military.
VALOR VS TERRORISM
Centcom's Lactao, in a press conference, encouraged the public to display courage after the encounter.
"What is the purpose of terrorism? To instill fear among the people
So what is the antidote to terrorism, dapat 'di ka magpakita ng takot," Lactao said.
"'Pag nagpakita ka ng takot, then the terrorist has achieved its purpose without firing a single shot. Kagaya ng sabi namin ni mayor, dapat back to normal na tayo so that we will not give the benefit to the terrorist their victory dahil talo na nga sila dito. Namatayan sila dito. Hindi nila nagawa yung dapat nilang gawin. Back to normal tayo."
On Wednesday, security forces conducted an aerial survey of Inabanga as part of their "clearing operations."
-- With reports from Jeff Canoy and Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News