Basilan PPOC to tackle security woes — Hataman PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 05 January 2014 15:00

Members of the inter-agency provincial peace and order council (PPOC) in Basilan will hold an emergency meeting to discuss how they can help authorities restore normalcy in the island province in the next six months.

The PPOC, whose presiding chairperson is Basilan Gov. Jum Akbar, will also tackle how members can help hasten the prosecution of the suspects in the deadly December 31 bombing in Barangay Tumahubong in Sumisip town.

The attack left seven villagers dead and six others injured, now confined at a hospital in Zamboanga City.

Next week’s Basilan PPOC meeting, tentatively slated January 9, will be presided over jointly by Akbar and Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Hataman is chairman of the larger ARMM regional peace and order council, whose members include the region’s police director, Chief Supt. Noel Delos Reyes, and senior officials of the Armed Forces’ Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City.

“One of our topics is how to accelerate the dispensation of justice for the victims of the grenade attack in Barangay Tumahubong on the eve of New Year’s Day, and how to address all security problems in the province in the next six months,” Hataman said.

Hataman said mayors in the island province and its provincial governor have expressed willingness to help pursue the full restoration of normalcy in the island province at least by the middle of 2014.

Hataman had earlier offered to shell out an earnest amount as a reward in exchange for any information that would lead to the arrest of the suspects behind the bombing in Barangay Tumahubong.

Hataman already extended financial assistance to the families of each of the slain villagers. The ARMM’s Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Relief Team, led by Regional Executive Secretary Laisa Alamia, have also been assisting since January 1 the blast victims undergoing medication at a hospital in Zamboanga City.

Hataman said the Basilan provincial police, and all intelligence units of the Westmincom, and the Army units in the island province are now cooperating in identifying the bombers.

“We just have to give them enough time to come out with a good picture of that incident so that we can have a strong basis for the prosecution of the culprits,” Hataman said.

Talks have been circulating in Barangay Tumahubong and surrounding areas in Sumisip that the bombers had actually targeted the San Vicente chapel in the village, but changed their plan when they saw soldiers guarding the surroundings of the worship site.

The two suspects, whom witnesses said were riding a motorcycle together, were seen roaming suspiciously around the chapel minutes before a powerful explosion ripped through a gazebo in a yard about 150 meters away.

“I am thankful to all local government units in Basilan, and to Gov. Akbar for their commitment to work out the dispensation of justice for the victims, and for their commitment to help the police and military address together other security woes besetting the province,” Hataman said.