ARMM exec tells public not to panic on prank threats PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 16 August 2013 13:22

The regional peace and order council (RPOC) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao urged the public Wednesday to listen only to security advisories from authorities and avoid undue reactions on prank text messages warning of more bombings and attacks by bandits.

Text messages have been circulating since last week in the city and parts of ARMM, telling of sightings of powerful improvised explosive devices in terminals, worship sites, and near schools, and warning of impending attacks by bandits.

“We should not panic if we receive such kind of messages. We just need to be vigilant, forward the messages to our friends in the police and military for them to act fast and then stay calm and be watchful of our surroundings,” said ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, chairman of the RPOC.

Hataman said undue reactions on prank text messages can only show weakness on the determination of the local communities to stand against terrorism and criminal gangs.

Hataman has also appealed to residents of Cotabato City to help Mayor Japal Guiani, Jr. and the city’s police director, Senior Supt. Rolen Balquin, in their on-going investigation on the August 5 deadly car bomb explosion here that killed eight and injured more than 30 others.

Hataman’s office is located in Cotabato City, about 1.5 kilometer away from the office of Guiani.

Guiani, Balquin, and Col. Custodio Parcon, Jr., commanding officer of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 1, released during a press conference in Cotabato City Wednesday the photos of three suspects in the bombing, the worst ever in the city’s more than 50-year history.

Hataman said the ARMM’s police command has been directed to continuously assist Balquin and his men, who are under the Region 12 police office based in Gen. Santos City, in maintaining law and order in all of the 37 barangays of Cotabato City.

Hataman said representatives of Malacanang and top officials of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces on Tuesday assured local executives in Central Mindanao of their support to the security and peace-keeping initiatives of local government units in the region.

Hataman, Guiani, and the governors of Central Mindanao’s Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato provinces held a closed door security dialogue Tuesday with Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa, and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin at the headquarters of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao.

Hataman said the dialogue delved on updates about terrorist organizations abroad and in the country, and the need for local government units to cooperate with each other in addressing local peace and security concerns.