Military to expand operation in North Cotabato-A A +A
Friday, February 15, 2013
THE 10th Infantry Division (10th ID) is set to expand its area of responsibility to include six municipalities of North Cotabato province effective March 1.
Major General Ariel Bernardo, 10th ID commander, confirmed this during the Hermes Club media forum at the Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao Friday.
"It was approved by the General Headquarters. Initially, we will be taking six municipalities of North Cotabato," Bernardo said.
Bernardo, however, has not finalized the municipalities that they will take over in North Cotabato since they would need more forces to assume the areas.
"My proposal is to get Tulunan, Makila, Magpet. But it depends on the forces that will be given to us. I will only agree if we will be given enough forces to cope up with the additional areas," Bernardo said.
"Initially, we are not yet satisfied so we need to iron it out on how we could go about it," he added.
Bernardo said they are concerned with the New People’s Army (NPA)-affected areas since they may become a problem during the election period. This is the reason why they have yet to identify the towns that they will add to their area of responsibility, according to him.
He said part of the changes of the expansion is that the 6th Infantry Division of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) will now be under the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom).
"The rationale is that WestMinCom will primarily be handling the core territory of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the political entity envisioned while the EastMinCom which includes the 4th ID, 10th ID and the North Cotabato side will primarily be dealing with the New People's Army-affected areas," Bernardo said.
But Bernardo suggested that the 6th ID could focus on the NPA affected areas instead rather than its concern to the MILF territories.
"I was telling the 6th ID that I guess we should focus more on the NPA affected areas since the situation in the MILF areas is upbeat where it is getting better and the ceasefire is getting stronger with the impending signing of the Comprehensive Compact Agreement," Bernardo said.
The 10th ID will have a coordinating conference with the 1002nd Brigade and at the level of EastMinCom to finalize the implementation of the expansion.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 16, 2013.