Saturday Jan, 18 2020 08:43:37 PM

Westmincom chief proposes joint task force for R-12, BARMM vs. terrorism

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 13:30 PM Tue Dec 31, 2020
Esther Roque with reports from Edwin Fernandez
RPOC-12 chair Sultan Kudarat Gov. Suharto Mangudadatu and North Cotabato Gov. Nancy Catamco and leaders of the security sectors in Mindanao during RPOC-12 year end meeting. (contributed photo)

KIDAPAWAN CITY – The highest military commander in central and western Mindanao has proposed the creation of a “Joint Task Force” for Region 12 and the Bangsamoro region to effectively combat terrorism and illegal drugs.

The proposal from Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana for the creation of joint task force is seen as the best strategy to resolve armed conflict, insurgency and illegal drug trading.

Sobejana presented his proposal to the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) meeting held in Koronadal City last week.

The RPOC 12, chaired by Gov. Suharto “Teng” Mangudadatu of Sultan Kudarat, welcomed and agreed to Sobejana’s idea.

Earlier, Sobejana called on RPOC members to join him in the crusade to come up with a comprehensive campaign plan to combat terrorism.

“This has been an endless menu in the region that hampers development. It is only by coming up with a working plan can both BARMM and Region XII fill the gaps in addressing this problem including drug trading,” Sobejana said, adding that the creation of the task force is part of the plan.

"Terrorism cannot be addressed by the Army and PNP,” the Westmincom chief said. “It can only be addressed by convergence of efforts among the community and the government agencies," he said.

According to Sobejana, the areas in Region 12 suffered most of the spill over in the terrorism activities within BARMM due to its proximity.

He said that atrocities and armed conflicts in BARMM affect Region 12's economic activity and development. 

“The convergence of these two regions is important in ensuring peace and security within these areas,” Sobejana told RPOC officials.

Sobejana said poverty and lack of income among Muslim men is one of the primary factors they easily engaged as combatants of local terrorist organizations.

"People should know the fact, may sweldo po silang tinatanggap dito (they are getting paid)," he said.


Having more than one wife makes men who have no decent income to grab the opportunity to join terrorist groups to support their families.

Mangudadatu expressed full support to Sobejana’s call stressing the idea was brilliant as proven in the implementation of Executive Order 70 through convergence of government agencies.

To support Sobejana’s idea, Mangudadatu said it should be backed by the continued implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao.

“Martial Law remains to be effective in ensuring safety  and order in the community and in resolving drug related problems in Maguindanao and nearby provinces,” Mangudadatu added.

The RPOC convene Thursday for the year-end meeting and delivery of reports of council members. It is composed of the provinces of Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, Cotabato City and General Santos City.

Also in attendance were 10th Infantry Division commander Major Gen. Jose Roy Faustino, 6th ID chief Major Gen. Diosdado Carreon, DILG 12 Regional Director Josephine Cabrido Leysa and North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco.

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