Top level officials in Mindanao for inter-agency consultation PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 August 2013 14:22

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista arrived at the Western Mindanao Command Headquarters on Thuesday to convene an Interagency Meeting in Region 9 and BASULTA.

In attendance were some governors and mayors covered by the said area; field AFP commanders and PNP counterparts. From Headquarters Western Mindanao Command, the group proceeded to Cotabato, Davao and Cagayan de Oro to conduct similar consultations from August 13-14, 2013.

Their presence in Mindanao is a clear manifestation of the government’s genuine concern to the recent spate of bombings and violence in some parts of Mindanao and the threat posed by local and foreign terrorist and other extremist groups. The meeting also aims to generate appreciation, concensus and assessment on the nature of threat being confronted and draw counter-measures to effectively address these threats.

Lt,Gen. Rey Ardo, commander, Western Mindanao Command, during his situation briefing, recommended among others various measures to strengthen counter-terrorism efforts to include among others: Creation of Mindanao-wide Intel Task Force considering the nature of the threat which adopts asymmetric form of waging terror war; and the need to strengthen the role of LGUs through the Peace and Order Councils at different levels. He also discussed the current efforts of the command in the field of countering terrorism and violence.

Secretary Gazmin assured the public that adequate measures are already in place to prevent a spillover of the Mindanao bombings into other parts of the country. He also said that security forces are enhancing their visibility and their intelligence-gathering efforts to thwart any untoward incident. In addition, SND is asking the public’s cooperation and active involvement to be on alert and vigilant and report to proper authorities and suspicious persons or activities that come to their attention.

Ochoa strongly supports the idea of strengthening the POCs because he believes that the role of the Local Chief Executives, who are also the Chairman of POCs, can play a significant role to help address all forms of violence in respective localities. He stressed that, “Security is everybody’s concern” and everybody needs to play his role in our fight against terrorism.