JSOTF-P’s Bayanihan with ZCCIFI for peace and prosperity in Zamboanga-Basilan PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 24 June 2011 13:25

The Zamboanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc. (ZCCIFI) was honored when the outgoing Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) Commander US Navy Capt. Robert Gusentine invited its officers for a tit-for-tat casual meeting at WesMinCom (Western Mindanao Command) last June 21 (Tuesday).

The friendly Gusentine talked about the role of JSOTF-P in Mindanao and how their presence can help in the economic development, particularly in Basilan and Zamboanga, through diplomacy and defense. In response, ZCCIFI president Cholo Soliven expressed gratitude for this privileged meeting that recognized the chamber as an important economic stakeholder in the implementation of JSOTF-P peace economic programs.

Briefly, JSOTF-P was organized upon the request of the Philippine Government to fight terrorism and deliver humanitarian assistance in Southern Mindanao alongside with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Its non-combat role is strictly to advise and assist AFP, share information, and to conduct joint civil military operations for peace, stability and prosperity.

Basilan Army Gen. Robert Morales and WesMinCom Spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang were also invited in the meeting. Being military partners of JSOTF-P, they updated the group of their activities and programs especially in building community services.

Two Dole Pineapple Executives, Finance Director Teodoro Santos Jr. and Stanfilco Environment Councilor Jerome Ferraris, were present and shared their inspirational business experiences. It used to be that in Davao Compostela Valley (where their plantation is located) rebels infested the area. But economic prosperity through community involvement brought peace and stability. They believed that it can be attained too in Basilan.

USAID Deputy Chief Daniel Miller of the Office of Economic Development and Governance was the special guest. He witnessed this momentous event as it was the first time that the business sector was invited to get involved with JSOTF-P.

The meeting ended with a Bayanihan spirit (helping each other). It is through cooperation and proper coordination among all stakeholders that peace and prosperity can be attained straightforwardly in Zamboanga and Basilan.

Dapat kasali tayo lahat sa pag-asenso ng Zamboanga at Basilan (we should all be involved in the progress process of Zamboanga and Basilan)! Debe lang.