MANILA, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines will deploy some 300 erring policemen to Basilan, an impoverished island province which is home to the country's most violent Islamic militants, for punishment, a senior military officer said Sunday.
Gen. Eduardo Ano, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said the policemen will guard town centers in the remote province where kidnappings and bombings happen regularly.
"They (the policemen) will beef up the (military forces) in priority areas. Their main job is to take care of the town centers, urban centers so that the (military troops) can concentrate on the hinterlands," Ano told reporters in Baguio City.
Philippine national police chief Ronald dela Rosa said that the policemen will be flown to Basilan by the military's C-130 Hercules plane.
The deployment of the policemen on Baislan island was directed by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte himself.
On Feb. 7, an irked Duterte spoke to at least 300 erring policemen lined up on the grounds of the presidential palace.
He condemned the police officers, all under investigation for their involvement in criminal activities, as "foolish, idiots and sons of bitches."
"I will send you to Basilan, live there for two years," Duterte shouted at the policemen. "If you get out alive, you can return here. If you die there, I will tell the police not to spend anything to bring you back here but to bury you there."
He said that those who would refuse to be deployed could quit the service.
"I will keep a battalion to keep track of your movements because it has been the sad experience of this country that the most vicious criminals are mostly ex-police or ex-military men," Duterte said.
The Abu Sayyaf is the most violent Islamic group involved in a resurgence of violence in the southern Philippines by pursuing a more fundamental battle against the Philippine authorities.
They operate in the remote islands provinces of Basilan and Sulu, where they carry out kidnappings for ransom, robbery, extortion and other criminal activities. They are notorious of beheading kidnapped victims who failed to pay ransom.