By JASMINE MOHAMMADSALI
A marines battalion has been pulled out of Zamboanga City and re-deployed to Tawi-Tawi.
Colonel Juvymax Uy, Task Force Zamboanga (TFZ) commander, said the Marine Battalion Landing Team-9 (MBLT 9) was pulled out of Zamboanga City to join the forces of Task Force Tawi-Tawi.
“MBLT 9 was pulled out because the marines are a national maneuver force of the armed forces so their capabilities are needed to join Task Force Tawi Tawi to guard borders with Malaysia and Indonesia. That’s the reason why they were pulled out,” Uy said.
The MBLT 9 has been replaced by the Army’s 21st Infantry Battalion whose forces have now occupied all positions vacated by the Marines.
Marines were deployed in Zamboanga City during the September 2013 siege. First to be deployed was the Marine Battalion Landing Team 1 (MBLT 1). It was later replaced by the MBLT 9.
The TFZ commander assured residents of the capability of the armed forces in securing Zamboanga City.
“I’d like to assure the people of Zamboanga City, don’t worry. The armed forces, the Marines has its own capability, the army battalion has its own capability. There are some security concerns that an army battalion could be fully utilized its capabilities in Zamboanga City,” Uy said.
The Sulu and Tawi-Tawi areas are in need of more security forces in the wake of threats posed by Abu Sayyaf that recently staged cross border kidnappings involving Indonesian and Malaysian hostages. — Jasmine Mohammadsali