President Aquino meets with security cluster

Malacañang on Wednesday assured that the government is exerting “determined efforts” for the rescue of kidnap-for-ransom hostages.

“Government continues to exert determined efforts to bring about the safe release of the kidnap-for-ransom hostages through a combination of law enforcement and military operations,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

President Aquino met with the security cluster at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

“The President and members of the Security Cluster were given updates by the AFP and the PNP on the security situation in Mindanao,” Coloma said.

Last month, the Chief Executive vowed that the government will not stop until the threat posed by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) is ended.

“The full resources of the State are being brought down on the ASG. Our primary objective is to rescue the hostages and ensure the safety of our civilian population. We will leave no stone unturned and are studying every instrument, both military and legal, to ensure success in our areas of operations and wherever else required,” he said in a statement released following the beheading of Canadian mining executive John Ridsdel after the government failed to pay the P300 million ransom demanded by the bandits

President Aquino said the government wants “to seriously erode any ability of the ASG to continue to function” by conducting continuing operations in Basilan against Hapilon and his sub-leader, Furuji Indama. PND (kt)