Operations to verify terrorists in Lanao Sur aborted-A A +A
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
MARAWI CITY -- The supposed joint operations, visitation and verification of suspected terrorists’ lair in one of the towns in Lanao del Sur was cancelled Monday after the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) central ad-hoc joint action group (AHJAG) failed to inform its local unit in the said town.
Colonel Glenn Macasero, commanding officer of 103rd Brigade Philippine Army based in Kampo Ranao in Marawi City said: "We communicated with the MILF AHJAG central committee and asked its permission for us to conduct operations to clear the area."
Macasero said the AHJAG central committee gave its permission but later on backtracked because it has failed to inform its local unit in the area.
"Initially, they gave us permission but it was held later since it failed to coordinate with the local AHJAG." The MILF expressed full support of the activity but it has not given us a definite date to conduct the inspection,” Macasero added.
Macasero said the MILF through Ghadzali Jaafar will support the military’s intent.
The joint inspection was supposed to be conducted by the MILF, military, police International Monitoring Team and AHJAG.
Macasero said the military is closely monitoring activities of alleged terror personalities in Lanao del Sur particularly in Marawi City where they allegedly build safe houses and conduct recruitment among the youth.
Samira Gutoc–Tomawis, former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindano Assemblywoman, agrees on the proposed joint inspection to clear the name of Lanao del Sur to stop the generalization and stereotyping of the province.
Marawi City and Lanao del Sur are the center for Islamic studies, Tomawis said.
In Iligan City, security measures have been tightened after the series of bombings took place in Cagayan de Oro City, Cotabato City and other parts of Mindanao.
Lieutenant Colonel Danilo Ibon, commanding officer of Army's 4th Mechanize Infantry Battalion said, "from the scale of one to four, the city is at level three of security alert status following the bomb threats in Iligan City.”
The military and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have been conducting series of bomb awareness in civilian community, public market and business groups.
Mayor Celso G. Regencia issued a directive to stop the holding of weekend economic activity of night market in Iligan City plaza every Friday and Saturday which received negative reactions from local business.
The directive was issued earlier to prevent bombing incident similar to Cagayan de Oro City which killed eight civilians and injured 46 others.
The night market is usually held at Iligan City Plaza fronting Station 5 of the PNP.
Iligan City will celebrate its “Diyandi Festival,” a month-long tourism celebration in honor of patron Saint Senior San Miguel the Archangel in September.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 21, 2013.