TERRORISTS KILLED. An ISIS flag is among the paraphernalia recovered from an anti-terror operation in Parañaque City on Friday (June 26, 2020). Killed in the shootout were four members of the ISIS-inspired Daulah Islamiyah terror group believed to be responsible for the bombing of the Jolo Cathedral in Sulu in January 2019. (Photo courtesy of NCRPO)

MANILA – The neutralization of four terrorists in Parañaque highlights the need for President Rodrigo Duterte to sign and expedite the implementation of the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Friday.

“This development all the more highlights the need for the President and Commander-in-Chief Rodrigo Duterte to expedite the signing and immediate implementation of the Anti Terrorism Bill!,” said AFP chief-of-staff, Gen. Felimon Santos, in a press statement.

He said terrorism is really posing a great threat against the security and welfare of the public.

“It is public security and general welfare at stake. We should protect and defend from terrorists— without further delay than it had already been —fellow Filipinos from wanton death or destruction of their property,” Santos said.

He also said the operation against the terrorists highlighted the fact that terrorist groups know no pandemic or people’s suffering in the Philippines or elsewhere in the world.

“Not even (the coronavirus disease 2019) Covid-19 could deter or prevent the terrorists ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) and their cohorts from planning and looking for the opportune time to strike and kill or maim innocent civilians and to destroy massively government infrastructure and private property,” he added.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana commended the police and military for the “successful” law enforcement operation.

“The presence of these terrorists in the NCR highlights the need for us to enhance our measures against those who intend to bring harm to our people. A law such as the Anti-Terrorism Bill of 2020 will give our law enforcers greater capacity to stop these terrorists and prevent them from wreaking havoc in our communities,” he said in a statement.

Early on Friday, four alleged members of the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria)-inspired Daulah Islamiyah terror group were killed in a shootout with police and military troops in Barangay Don Bosco, Parañaque City.

Killed in the operation were Merhama Abdul Sawari, Bensaudi Sali, Rasmin Hussin, and Jamal Kalliming.

The operation was conducted by virtue of a search warrant against Sali issued by the Parañaque City Regional Trial Court Branch 258 for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

The suspects immediately fired shots at arresting officers, prompting them to return fire.

Authorities seized various handguns, explosive devices, ISIS flags, and records of financial transactions.

The group was tagged as a financial conduit of the ISIS in East Asia due to their connection with Daulah Islamiyah bomb expert and sub-leader Mundi Sawadjaan, one of the masterminds behind the twin bombing at the Jolo Cathedral in Sulu in January 2019.

Authorities said Sawari was the facilitator of financial support coming from Indonesia. (PNA)