GUIPOS, Zamboanga del Sur, November 9 (PIA) - - To address kidnapping, piracy and insurgency in the province, the 53rd Infantry (Matapat) Battalion, Philippine Army and the coastal municipal mayors recently inked two (2) Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs).
The first MOU entered into by the 53rd IB and coastal municipal mayors defined their respective roles for the enhancement of security forces in the coastal municipalities by providing logistical support to the troops and CAFGUs, and the second provides financial assistance to former rebels (FRs) and their immediate families while waiting for the support package from the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) of the government.
LtCol. Marlowe Patria, 53rd IB commanding officer was deeply grateful for the strong support given by the local chief executives in the peace initiatives implemented by the unit adding that it cannot be realized without their cooperation.
"We have to maintain zero kidnapping and other related atrocities incidents in our area," Patria urged.
Mayor Angelito Martinez of San Miguel, vice president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), Zamboanga del Sur Chapter said the coastal municipal mayors strongly support the campaign saying that the unit and the LCEs are partners in peace-bulding initiatives.
"We strongly support the campaign because it is our constituents that would benefit. We need to work hand-in hand with the military to maintain peace and order in our province," Martinez proudly said.
Meanwhile, LtCol. Bagnus Gaerlan, Jr., 102nd brigade commander lauded the unit for proactively implementing the anti-kidnapping initiatives.
"We do not want that kidnapping, piracy and extortion will happen in our province," Gaerlan explained.
"I am optimistic that with the anti-kidnapping campaign jointly organized by the unit and LCEs, lawless elements will be afraid to do kidnap-for-ransom activities. The presence of 'Task Force Baganian' in the coastal waters is a deterrent in the commission of crimes," he added.
Gaerlan said since January this year, Zamboanga Peninsula region has recorded five (5) kidnapping incidents: three (3) in Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte, one (1) in Malangas, and one (1) in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay. (ALT/GCC/PIA9-Zamboanga del Sur)