September 24, 2017, 7:35 am
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.07205 UAE Dirham
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1 Philippine Peso = 147.14538 Sierra Leone Leone
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.06876 Turkish Lira
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.59217 Taiwan Dollar
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.01962 United States Dollar
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Lethal blow promised

THE Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines -- the nation’s No. 1 soldier -- has promised to deliver the “lethal blow” to the Abu Sayyaf Group, following his condemnation of the beheading of ship captain Noel Besconde by the jihadists. 

Although the military has yet to find the victim’s body, they presumed the news of Besconde’s gruesome murder is true, coming as it was on Maundy Thursday and on the heels of the government’s intense combat operations against the group in their known lairs in Basilan and Jolo. Also, Besconde’s family failed to raise P3 million ransom demanded by the kidnap men for his release.

The ASG’’s most recent setback was when the Armed Forces “discovered” and frustrated their plan to disrupt or attack the Asean ministers’ meeting in Bohol. This operation is likely a product of shared intelligence information from the US, which earlier issued a travel advisory to its citizens not to visit Central Visayas, particularly Cebu and Bohol. The American intelligence community surely knows something that we did not, so that our own military needed such sharing to act accordingly.

AFP chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Ano said: “By their recent barbarism, they are all the more fueling the desire of the AFP to crush their beastly practice, stop their kidnap-for-ransom activities and restore peace in Western Mindanao.”

“We will not falter. We will not rest even a bit in our conduct of combat, intelligence, and civil-military operations to protect our people. We will exhaust all means -- legal and moral -- to bring this war against terrorists to conclusion.”

We understand General Ano for dishing out these fighting words. He wanted to meet the self-imposed June 30 deadline that President Rodrigo Duterte gave his administration to finish off the ASG.

Ano’s strong words can only pep up his troops’ morale so much, but they won’t make a dent in the terrorists’ resolve to achieve their objectives. Having openly pledged their allegiance to the new “caliphate” that espouses brutal and gross interpretation of Islam, the Abu Sayyaf and similar groups are sworn to sharia’s dream of global domination and death to all infidels. 

Fighting these terrrorists is no child’s play. In the same manner that Duterte gave them no boundaries in the fight against illegal drugs, so must he grant the military and the police an even more unfettered role in this unforgiving, life-and-death struggle.
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