THE claims of former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on the possible demobilization of Task Force Davao (TFD) allegedly eyed by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s administration is nothing but speculation.
Major Mark Anthony Tito, 10th Infantry Division (10th ID) spokesperson revealed during a phone interview on Tuesday morning, February 6, 2024, that the claims were false.
Tito said there was no order nor information from Pres. Marcos that he has already planned and conducted an order to abolish the task force organic unit of their military division contrary to what was divulged by Roque in a Facebook live interview earlier this week.
“Sa part sa 10th ID, wala’y order and wala pud na siya ginahisgutan diria. Wala gyud mi kabalo aha na siya gikan nga istorya. As far as the 10th ID is concerned, wala gyud siya nahisgotan sa amoang level. I don’t know aha na gikan nga istorya but I assured you that hapsay ang dagan sa TFD,” Tito clarified.
(As for the 10th ID, there is no order and it was not also mentioned here. We don't really know where the story came from. As far as the 10th ID is concerned, it was never mentioned at our level. I don't know where the story came from but I assure you that the TFD is operating smoothly).
On the other hand, SunStar Davao interviewed some Dabawenyos about whether they want TFD to be abolished or not.
“I don’t think there is any reason for the administration to stop [the TFD] because it keeps the community from any violent incidents and terrorism occurrences — even the presence and resurgence of insurgents,” Mar Agan, 25, a resident of Davao City said in an interview.
Meanwhile, Nor Itao, 27, a resident of South Villa, Maa, this city, said she is thankful for the military's presence near their area especially since her shift starts at 10 p.m.
“It’s a relief that there are troops safeguarding our area. There are times that I feel scared when going outside. I think it is high time to appreciate their efforts because, after all, they are doing this for the safety and welfare of every citizen” she said.
It can be recalled that Roque told the media in an online interview that he had heard rumors about the disbandment of the task force, which was established on April 16, 2003, following terror attacks on the Sasa Airport and Sasa Wharf.
However, the official did not reveal the sources of the information.
“Nakakalap ako ng balita na idi-disband daw ang Task Force Davao na may 700 na sundalo na pinoprotektahan ang Davao sa banta ng terorismo,” Roque said.
(I have heard news that the Task Force Davao with 700 soldiers protecting Davao from the threat of terrorism will be disbanded).
On February 3, this year, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Romeo S. Brawner Jr. visited the soldiers of the 10th Infantry Division and Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) at Camp Gen. Manuel T. Yan Sr., Mawab, Davao de Oro to talk with the troops about their humanitarian and disaster assistance response following the calamity brought by trough of the low-pressure area (LPA) that flooded most portions of Southern Mindanao.
However, Tito affirmed that Brawner himself never revealed the plans of the current administration as the information was neither leaked nor reported to their agency in the first place.
Meanwhile, the AFP also refuted claims that the Task Force Davao would be dismantled.
"The EMC (Eastern Mindanao Command) has made a statement. We made some clarification, and there is no such directive for the disbandment of Task Force Davao," AFP public affairs office chief Col. Xerxes Trinidad said during a press conference at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
AFP spokesperson Col. Francel Margareth Padilla echoed Trinidad's remarks, saying Brawner's visit was aimed at determining how the military can help in the ongoing humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations in Davao Region.
In a video message, Brawner reiterated that the task force will not be disbanded.
"Hindi po totoong bubuwagin natin yung Task Force Davao, instead magdadagdag pa ho tayo ng mga task forces sa mga lugar na talagang nangangailangan ng pwersa natin para mapanatili natin yung kapayapaan (Rumors that Task Force Davao will be disbanded are false. In fact, we will be creating more task forces for areas needed our presence to maintain the peace)," he added. DEF with reports from PNA