Tuesday Jul, 23 2019 03:56:21 PM

Army takes over posts of Marines in Maguindanao

Mindanao Peace Process • 14:00 PM Thu Jun 20, 2019
John M. Unson
The 7th Marine Battalion left Maguindanao for Sulu last Sunday.

MAGUINDANAO - Army personnel will take over the areas in Maguindanao towns vacated by the Marines this week for deployment Sulu to augment security forces fighting the Abu Sayyaf in the hostile island province.

Senior 6th ID officials told this news outfit Thursday that Army personnel are now being positioned in Upi, South Upi and Datu Blash Sinsuat towns following the pull out of the 7th Marine Battalion lasy Sunday.

The three towns are now under the jurisdiction of 6th ID's 603rd Infantry Division covering most towns in the first district of Maguindanao, a component province of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Officials of the Philippine Marine Corps, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division and the 1st Marine Brigade based in nearby seaside Lebak town in Sultan Kudarat led the June 16 sendoff rite for hundreds of Marines to be reassigned in Sulu.

Marine units in Maguindanao and in the coasts of Sultan Kudarat in Region 12 are under the tactical control of 6th ID.

Besides being bastion of the Abu Sayyaf, Sulu also has high prevalence of clan wars involving large Tausug clans maintaining armed groups to perpetuate political power, some of them conniving with the Abu Sayyaf.

The Abu Sayyaf, operating in the fashion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has been using towns in Sulu as harboring areas for captives kidnapped in provinces outside.

The group has a reputation for beheading captives if ransom demands are not met.

In a sendoff message, Major General Alvin Parreño, Philippine Marine commandant, called on servicemen of the 7th Marine Battalion to perform their security missions in Sulu efficiently in keeping with their sworn duty to quell security threats in any part of the country.

Members of the battalion were fetched from Maguindanao’s Polloc Port in Parang town by the large Philippine Navy vessel BRP Davao del Sur.

Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana of 6th ID said Thursday they do not see any "security vacuum" in Upi, South Upi and Datu Blah Sinsuat towns as a consequence of the pullout of the Marines.

"We also have the Maguindanao provincial police supporting our security missions in these three towns," Sobejana said. 


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