THE DEPARTMENT of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is eyeing to increase the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) troops in Mindanao, especially in the Zamboanga Peninsula region and its neighboring island provinces to help the military in the anti-terrorism campaign. DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año, who was in Zamboanga City last week to visit the PNP SAF camp, told the local media that they are planning to have a “joint operation between the PNP-SAF in the areas of the island provinces of Basilan and Sulu,” which are known lairs of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and other lawless elements. Mr. Año assured that the joint operations would be well-planned and with full cooperation between police and the military to avoid a repeat of the SAF 44 incident in 2015. “This time there will be a proper coordination,” he said. Basilan and Sulu are under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. In Basilan, Lt. Col. Achilles dela Cruz, recently appointed commander of the 4th Special Forces Battalion, said they are increasing their presence in the hinterlands of Sumisip town, where about 40 members of the ASG are still hiding. — Albert F. Arcilla