Friday, February 15, 2013

Military official confirms expansion of AOR in North Cotabato

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 16): Military official confirms expansion of AOR in North Cotabato

A top military commander confirmed the expansion in the area of responsibility (AOR) of the 10th Infantry Division to include six municipalities and one city in North Cotabato effective March 1.

Speaking at the Hermes Club Press Forum held Friday at the Waterfront Insular Hotel here, Major General Ariel Bernardo, commander of the 10th Infantry Division said the plan had been approved by the national headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and would cover areas where communist rebels are present.

He said part of the forthcoming changes will be that the 6th Infantry Division will be placed under the Western Mindanao Command. ”The rationale of the plan is for Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) to handle the Southern Philippines secessionist group to include the core territory of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the new political entity of the autonomous region, while the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) with the 4th Infantry Division and 10th Infantry Division will handle the areas affected by the communist movement,” Bernardo said.

He said he proposed to get the municipalities of Tulunan, Makilala, Magpet depending on the number of troops to be given to the 10th ID. Bernardo said the 10th ID needs additional troops to handle these areas.

He earlier suggested to the 6th ID to give focus more on the areas with the presence of communist rebels now that the areas under the MILF are getting more peaceful with the ceasefire holding given the impending signing of the final peace agreement.

Bernardo cited the need for soldiers to be present on the boundary areas where enemy forces are concentrated. The 10th Infantry Division is the youngest division of the Philippine Army operating primarily in Davao Region and portions of Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, Sarangani and General Santos City.

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