CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Seventy operatives of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-Central Luzon Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) flew to Cagayan de Oro on Tuesday, June 27, to augment the police forces in Mindanao amid the ongoing crisis in Marawi City.

PRO-Central Luzon Director Aaron Aquino, during the send-off ceremony in Camp Olivas here, said the deployment is in line with the tour of duty of Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel deployed in armed-conflict areas, counter-insurgency operations and other similar serious threats to national security.

He said the RPSB personnel are among the best and skilled who have undergone tactical and combat trainings.

“I am sure that you will all do well. Bear in mind that as police officers, we always place duty and honor above our own personal concerns. As your regional director, I am extremely proud of you because I am in no doubt that you will be able to carry out our mandated tasks of ensuring and maintaining public security and safety,” Aquino told the troops.

He said the police personnel sent to Cagayan de Oro will stay there and assist the local police in maintaining peace and order until the situation in Marawi City goes back to normal.

On May 23, government troops launched military operations in Marawi City after receiving information that international terrorist Isnilon Hapilon was in the area.

The operation resulted in the firefight between the government troops and members of the Maute terror group who came to defend Hapilon.

Based on records of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, 70 government soldiers were already killed in the ongoing clashes.

But Aquino urged the public to stray strong and united against terrorism, and to be extra cautious in believing and sharing in social media and spreading through text messages unverified reports that are circulating over the internet purportedly coming from police units.

He said those unverified reports may cause unnecessary panic and fear.

He also encouraged the reporting of any suspicious persons, activities, and unusual occurrences in public or any untoward incidents and crime situations through the nationwide emergency hotline 911 and/or through PRO-Central Luzon TOC 0917-623-5700.

“Let us stay strong and stay united against terrorism and other lawless activities for a safer place to live, work and do business,” Aquino said. (JTD/With Ric Sapnu of SunStar Pampanga/Third Anne Peralta Malonzo of SunStar Philippines)