Hataman, Marines to cooperate on projects, brgy polls security PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 12 July 2013 11:05

The Philippine Marine Corps and the executive department of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) have agreed to cooperate on projects complementing Malacañang’s Mindanao peace process, the regional communications group said.

The Marines have several battalions in the island province of Sulu and in Maguindanao’s adjoining Datu Blah Sinsuat, North Upi and South Upi towns, all component areas of the autonomous region.

Amir Mawalil, managing director of the Regional ComGroup, said Thursday that the consensus was reached during the July 9 meeting at the ARMM compound in Cotabato City between regional governor Mujiv Hataman and Philippine Marines commandant Brig. Gen. Romeo Tanalgo.

Also present in the meeting were Col. Alex Balutan of the 1st Marine Brigade based in Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat and the commanding officer of the Army’s 603rd Brigade, Col. Noli Orense, and  Capt. Primitivo Gopo of the Naval Reserve Command.

Hataman cited during the meeting the contributions of the Marines to the peaceful conduct of the synchronized local, midterm and ARMM elections last May 13.

Hataman and Tanalgo agreed to work hand in hand to “capacitate” local government units in areas covered by the Marines to enable LGUs to lead in addressing domestic peace and security concerns.

The 1st Marine Brigade, whose units are deployed in Maguindanao’s neighboring North Upi, South Upi and Datu Blah Sinsuat towns, has actively been implementing outreach programs for impoverished communities with the support of the provincial government and the ARMM‘s Department of Health.

The projects of the brigade and its component Marine battalions are meant to propagate cordiality between local residents and the government, in support of Malacañang’s peace overtures with Moro groups in the province.

Hataman assured Tanalgo of the readiness of the Office of the Regional Governor, also known as “Little Malacañang” of the autonomous region, to support humanitarian projects of the Marines, through the regional health and social welfare departments.

Mawalil said Hataman and Tanalgo also planned to fuse ranks in helping the Commission on Elections administer a peaceful and clean barangay electoral exercise in October 2013.

The 32-hectare ARMM compound here is being guarded by a company-size contingent of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 1, a component unit of the 1st Marine Brigade.

Hataman said the Marines have efficiently been securing the seat of the ARMM government, rocked by bomb and arson attacks, and shooting incidents during the past administrations.

“About a thousand people, Muslims and Christians alike, jog in the ARMM compound now during Saturdays and Sundays. There are paid physical education instructors that lead field exercises as part of our confidence-building with people that come to jog around,” Hataman was quoted by Mawalil as telling the Marine and Army officers that paid him a courtesy visit.

Tanalgo’s meeting with Hataman was part of the general’s three-day tour of Central Mindanao to meet with local officials and visit the Marine battalions in assigned in the City, Maguindanao and coastal towns in Sultan Kudarat in the Administrative Region 12.