From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 22): Multi-sectoral contingency plan up vs terrorism
COTABATO CITY -- The City Peace and Order Council (CPOC) here has laid down a multi-sectoral contingency plan to address threats of terrorism.
The contingency plan came about after the sighting on Wednesday of some 100 Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) traversing the peripheries of nearby Kabuntalan, Maguindanao, on their way to Pigcawayan, North Cotabato, where they attacked and occupied three remote villages for several hours.
A daylong gun battle ensued between government forces and BILFF militants following the incident.
Prior to the Pigcawayan attack, Poblacion 9 Barangay Chairman Jonas Mohamad here reported to local authorities about the presence of the BIFF rebels aboard 10 motorized bancas traversing Kakar River that separates his village and Kabuntalan town.
“The rebels were proceeding to Pigcawayan town using the river when sighted by my co-villagers,” Mohamad said.
River patrols by government forces were fortified to block any rebel groups that might use the same route in reinforcing or withdrawing from their Pigcawayan position.
“I would just like to tell Cotabateños not to worry as our security forces are in place and ready at all times,” Mayor Frances Cynthia Guiani – Sayadi, concurrent CPOC chair, told newsmen prior to the conduct of the 2nd quarter CPOC meeting held on Wednesday afternoon at the South Seas Mall Convention Hall here.
Apart from the local police force, the city is also currently secured by the presence of the Army’s Sixth Infantry Division headquarters in adjacent Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao and its Special Forces Battalion stationed in the heart of the city.
Recently, the city government has also activated the service some 1,000 city village watchmen as force multipliers in defending peace and order in their respective communities.
The mayor said the contingency plan involves the participation of the local power firm, the city water district and the business sector, among others.
“The contingency plan was devised so that the various sectors would know what to do in times of trouble,” Sayadi said.
She reiterated in assuring the public that the city has “sufficient” government forces to parry any future attacks that might be launched by criminal elements here.
“Be vigilant but remain calm,” the mayor said.