GMA to smash terrorism with ‘hand of steel’

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — PRESIDENT Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday hailed as “another milestone in the campaign against terror” the killing of Abu Sayyaf leader Abu Solaiman even as she vowed to use “a hand of steel” to finish the campaign against terrorism.

The President personally commended the Armed Forces for the successful operation against the ASG in Sulu at a command conference held at the defense department. She said the killing of Solaiman also “caps with glory the signing of the ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism.”

“We are resolved to work with our strategic allies in the region and with the United States to tighten the dragnet and stop the movement of terrorists, their finances and their deadly materiel across the seas and borders.

“The relentless pressure we have applied in the field is taking its toll and we will keep it up until all the terrorists and their clandestine cells are accounted for. This government is determined to finish the job with a hand of steel against evil; and to usher in a durable peace through economic development, interfaith dialogue and international cooperation,” the President said.

The US government had offered a $5 million reward for the capture of Solaiman, who is believed to be responsible for several bombings and the Dos Palmas kidnapping in Palawan in 2001.

Malacañang said the ASG continues to weaken with the neutralization of its leaders. Last month, the military said it recovered human remains that could be those of Abu Sayyaf chief Khadaffy Janjalani.

“We mark every high point in the campaign against the Abu Sayyaf and the JI with greater resolve to move forward in strengthening domestic, regional and global security,” the President said.

“The Philippines has a stake in a safer world where 8 million Filipinos work and reside, and in an East Asian region that builds shared prosperity on stability and peace,” she added.