Maguindanao local gov’t, security sector activate emergency network PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 16 May 2015 13:25

 

Fazed by calamities and disasters everywhere, local officials, the police and the military on Thursday joined ranks to form a multilateral emergency action network covering all 36 towns in Maguindanao.

The province, home to “tri-people,” which groups the area’s Muslim, Christian and indigenous lumad sectors, is no stranger to disasters, being a hotbed of secessionist activities since the 1970s and owing to its proximity with Asia’s largest marsh, the oft-flooded 220,000 Liguasan Delta, a catch basin for dozens of rivers that spring from surrounding hinterlands.

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, Major Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan of the 6th Infantry Division and Chief Supt. Ronald Estilles, acting police director of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, signed Thursday in Tacurong City an agreement establishing a tripartite disaster and conflict response mechanism the three of them are to jointly manage.

Local executives, military and police officers from different towns witnessed the signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA), which capped off a provincial peace and security forum at a local venue, which Mangudadatu, Pangilinan and Estilles jointly presided over.

The MOA underscored how the Maguindanao provincial government, the 6th ID and the ARMM regional police office are to cooperate in relief and rehabilitation efforts in calamity-stricken areas.

The MOA also outlined the commitments of stakeholders to help each other push forward domestic peace and security projects in all of the 36 towns in Maguindanao in support of Malacañang’s effort to restore normalcy in hostile areas in the country’s south.

Mangudadatu said the provincial government will provide needed fiscal and technical support to the emergency network while the 6th ID and the ARMM police are to contribute manpower and mobility to hasten relief operations in any area in Maguindanao.

“The 6th ID and the ARMM police will also help train local groups in emergency operations and disaster mitigation and rescue missions,” Mangudadatu said.

Pangilinan said all of the 6th ID’s component-brigades, the 601st, the 602nd, and the 603rdBrigades and the Army’s 1st Mechanized Brigade, will support the initiative extensively.

Assemblyman Khadafe Mangudadatu of the ARMM’s 24-seat Regional Assembly, one of the proponents of the emergency network, said all cooperating entities shall operate according to the Filipino “bayanihan” spirit.

“The operation of this network will also help build cordiality among the 6th ID, the police and Maguindanao’s Moro, Christian and lumad communities. This is good for the Mindanao peace process,” Assemblyman Mangudadatu said.

The regional lawmaker said among the factors that motivated them to form the network was the dislocation of more than 100,000 villagers in eight Maguindanao towns affected by the February 28 to April 3 face-off between the military and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

The BIFF, which is not covered by the July 1997 Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, was tagged as behind the deadly bombings in Central Mindanao from 2010 until late 2014.

Maguindanao folks had also experienced worst floods in 2008, in 2010 and in 2013, which dislocated thousands of peasant families and destroyed rice and corn crops in wide swaths of lands near the Liguasan Delta and its downstream tributaries that drain at the western coast of Cotabato City.