CATBALOGAN CITY- Major General Raul Farnacio denied reports that members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) have been sighted in several parts in the region.
Farnacio, commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan City, said that the reports being circulated by certain groups are not true at all.
Earlier, there were reports that alleged ASG members were seen in Dolores, Eastern Samar and Santa Fe, Leyte.
But Farnacio said that Muslims who are members of the Balik Islam group were the ones seen in these places and certainly, they are not members of the terror group.
“A lot of information are coming out but none of them are airtight though it really means that there’s a lot of work to be done in terms of monitoring activities of the group,” the Army official said.
Farnacio said Muslim communities are assisting the government in hunting down members of the terror groups like the Abu Sayyaf.
The Army general assured the public that they are closely monitoring the developments in Bohol to preempt any possible moves from the ASG to come to the region and spread their terroristic activities.
A joint effort and deployments were conducted both by the Army and police to ensure the security and safety of the public, including tourists who come to the region, Farnacio said.
Meanwhile, in a separate interview with Eastern Visayas Police Director Elmer Beltejar, he warned the public to be vigilant and to be extra careful in going to possible target areas like shopping malls, car parks, and tourist attraction areas.
He urged the public to remain calm despite the warning though he insisted that the region remains to be peaceful.

Beltejar advises also those who are spreading false reports so as not to instill fear to the public but rather consult the police first.