THE 10th Infantry "Agila" Division (10ID) of the Philippine Army (PA) slammed the Canadian government for their surprise travel advisory against all parts of Mindanao, which affects their area of responsibility.
Expressing his sentiments, 10th ID spokesperson Major Mark Anthony Tito clarified that the four regions governed by their military agency are peaceful, which means there is the absence of threats from terrorism and violent forces contrary to what was announced by the Canadian embassy on their travel advisory dated January 10, 2024.
The division has operational responsibility in 12 provinces, seven cities, and 72 municipalities of the Davao Region, parts of Sarangani and South Cotabato, Second District of Cotabato and Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, Trento, Agusan del Sur, and Linging, Surigao del Sur.
"We do not know what is the basis behind that travel advisory. They do not know what is happening on the ground. Kami sa kasundalohan, we can assure the whole region is peaceful. Hindi siya akma or hindi ganun ang nangyayari sa ating area of responsibility (We in the army, we can assure that the whole region is peaceful. It doesn't jive or that is not what is happening in our area of responsibility," the official said during the Davao Region’s 2023 Socioeconomic Performance and 2024 Development Council press conference on Tuesday morning, January 30.
Tito cited the situation of the whole Davao Region during 2023 and that according to him, no threats and major violence were recorded in the timeline.
"Just imagine, for the whole 2023, we do not have recorded any incidents in terms of terrorism and insurgency" he added.
Based on the travel advisory, the Canadian embassy warned its citizens to avoid visiting Mindanao provinces following the ongoing presence of terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, high rates of violence, and encounters between the rebel forces and government security authorities.
In the advisory, Canada cited Northern Mindanao particularly in Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao Del Norte, Misamis Occidental, and Misamis Oriental as places to possibly avoid any travel.
In Soccsksargen, citizens are told to exercise high caution in Cotabato, Sarangani, South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat.
On the other hand, it also advised its citizens to avoid non-essential travels in Eastern Mindanao especially in Caraga and Davao Region except for Davao City.
However, despite the exclusion of Davao City, Tito emphasized that the area will still experience the impact of the advisory as it is a part of the Davao Region.
Currently, several guerillas in the 10th ID’s jurisdiction have been weakened and eliminated by the Philippine Army in line with the military unit’s campaign to achieve an insurgency-free zone.