Reservists to help address illegal fishing, piracy in Sultan Kudarat PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 14 September 2014 14:23

The local government units of the seaside Lebak and Kalamansig towns in Sultan Kudarat now have Marine reservists to help authorities guard municipal waters from pirates and illegal poachers.

Mayors Dionesio Besana of Lebak and Rolando Garcia of Kalamansig will exercise joint ministerial supervision of the contingent, the 75th Marine Reserve Service Support Group, which has about a thousand non-uniformed members.

The reservists are comprised of owners of fishing vessels and fisherfolks in coastal barangays in the two towns.

The group was established through a memorandum of agreement signed last September 10 at the headquarters of the Western Mindanao Command in Davao City by Vice Admiral Jesus Millan, flag officer-in-command of the Philippine Navy, and Emmanuel Lontok, president of the Lebak-Kalamansig Coastal Marine Association Incorporated (LKCMAI).

The signing of the MOA was witnessed by senior Eastmincom and Navy officials and Col. Emmanuel Salamat, commanding officer of the 1st Marine Brigade, which has jurisdiction over Lebak and Kalamansig, both located in west of Sultan Kudarat.

The Philippine Marine Corps is a component unit of the Philippine Navy.

The newly-organized reservist group, comprised of Moro, Christian and non-Moro indigenous lumad members, shall help the LGUs of Lebak and Kalamansig address security concerns in their municipal waters, including illegal fishing and intrusion by pirates targeting hapless fishermen.

Danilo Chavez, an official of the LKCMAI, said Salamat, who graduated from the Philippine Military Academy in 1985, and the LGUs of Lebak and Kalamansig coordinated with each other in organizing the reservist group.

In a statement Saturday, Salamat clarified that the reservist group is a civic organization and not a counter-insurgency unit.

“It will help make functional all government peace and development programs in the two towns and help promote unity among the local Muslim, Christian and lumad communities,” Salamat said.

Salamat said the Marine reservists will also engage in activities meant to bolster the peace process between the national government and Mindanao’s Moro communities.

The creation of the group was based on Circular No. 3 of the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Section 10 of the Republic Act 77, also known as AFP Reservist Act.

The R.A. 77 gave the AFP mandate to organize reservist groups, if the need arises, in support of the government’s peace and security activities in the local communities.