Multi-sectoral peacekeeping task force for Marawi mulled PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 20 October 2015 11:26

Officials are convinced Saturday’s fatal-ambush of the city’s police director was in retaliation for his hands-on involvement in law-enforcement activities that led to the neutralization of at least three local drug rings in recent weeks.

The victim, Supt. Al Abner Wahab Santos, was driving his Mitsubishi Montero on his way to his office from a conference with provincial police officials when gunmen on board another vehicle trailing behind opened fire with automatic weapons, killing him on the spot.

There are talks circulating around that the gunmen belong to a big drug syndicate engaged in large-scale drug trafficking here and nearby towns.

City residents have confirmed that methamphetamine hydrochloride, most known as shabu, is being sold as if a legal merchandise in many areas in Marawi City, capital of Lanao del Sur.

Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong, Jr. had agreed, during an emergency security dialogue here Monday, to form a “peacekeeping task force” for Marawi City to be comprised of the police, the military and local civil society organizations.

The creation of the task force was proposed by Hataman, chair of the ARMM peace and order council, to maximize cross-section involvement in addressing lawlessness in Marawi City, touted as the only “Islamic city” in the country.

Monday’s emergency meeting at the Lanao del Sur provincial capitol in Marawi City was attended by ARMM’s regional police director, Chief Supt. Ronald Estilles and Col. Roseller Murillo of the Army’s 103rd Brigade, which has jurisdiction over Marawi City and neary Lanao del Sur towns.

Officials present in the meeting, among them representatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, from the ARMM’s Regional Commission on Human Rights and from the league of Lanao del Sur municipal mayors said they favor Hataman’s recommendation.

The mayor of Marawi City, Fahad Salic, was surprisingly absent from the meeting, where he was supposed to brief participants on the security situation in all of the 96 barangays under his jurisdiction.

Local officials said Salic is unlikely to attend now any gathering where Adiong, now in his third and last term as Lanao del Sur governor, is present.

Salic has filed his candidacy for the gubernatorial seat of the province, contesting the bid for the same post of the mother of the now outgoing governor,  Bedjoria, widow of the late undefeated erstwhile Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong, Sr.

Officials who attended the emergency security meeting in Marawi City had agreed to cooperate in the drafting of a resolution detailing the purpose and composition of the joint task force.