THE Philippine National Police (PNP) national headquarters will turn over firearms and ammunitions to the Iligan City Police Office to be used in fighting terrorism on Saturday, June 24.
Per information relayed by the police regional office Friday, the firearms and ammunitions were ordered released by PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa upon the request of Iligan mayor Celso Regencia.
In his recent visit to the PNP-Northern Mindanao headquarters to grace the turnover of command of the regional police command, dela Rosa said he has approved Regencia’s request for additional firearms.
In his speech, dela Rosa said it is very vital for the Iligan city police personnel to be adequately equipped to counter the armed terrorist groups and those who commit crimes.
The PNP chief also emphasized that police men and women of Iligan make the fight against the local terrorists as “personal” since the threat these individuals pose will also affect the families of the law enforcers.
In an interview Friday afternoon, Iligan city police director Senior Superintendent Leony Roy Ga confirmed the turnover of the firearms although he has yet to divulge the types of weaponry that they will receive from the PNP headquarters at Camp Crame.
But Ga said the additional firearms will be a big help for the Iligan city police to deter any moves by the terrorists.
At present, local terrorists are still engaging in combat with the armed forces in Marawi City. The fighting has displaced thousands of civilians and destroyed properties.
As the skirmishes have reached more than a month, it was suspected that many extremists have escaped and are now staying in Marawi’s nearby urban areas, especially in the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.
Acting on information from the PNP national command that there are members of the Maute Group who have managed to get inside Iligan undetected, Ga said they have already addressed this by going to communities where suspected terrorists have sought shelter.
“We are conducting house-to-house visits in barangays we identified as having presence of suspected persons,” he said.
The police director said they are also waiting for the arrival of the armored personnel carrier (APC) and eight units of motorcycles that the local government of Iligan will donate to the city police office.
A task force was created by the Armed Forces of the Philippines to secure Cagayan de Oro against threats of terrorism in the wake of the ongoing conflict in Marawi City.
In a statement, Colonel Reyland Orquia, of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division and the task force commander, said their main task is to secure the city against terrorism and to assist the local police in manning checkpoints located in strategic areas throughout Cagayan de Oro.