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Mimaropa cops, soldiers partner to keep peace ahead of SK, bgy polls
POLICE and Army forces in the tourist favorite Mimaropa region have further bolstered their cooperation to address the insurgency problem and ensure peace and order in Region 4-B which is composed of the provinces of Mindoro Oriental, Mindoro Occidental, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan ahead of the scheduled October 30 Sangguniang Kabataan and Barangay elections, the Journal Group learned yesterday.
Police Regional Office 4-B director, Brigadier General Joel B. Doria and Philippine Army 203rd Infantry Brigade commander, Brig. Gen. Randolph G. Cabangbang also maintained their resolve to keep peace and order in the region in order to attract more tourists and investors.
The region is home to some of the world’s most famous tourist destinations such as El Nido and Coron, Palawan which are popular for their beaches, scuba diving, lagoons and snorkeling areas as well as the subterranean river in Puerto Princesa City.
Brig. Gen. Cabangbang recently paid a courtesy visit to the Mimaropa police director at the PRO4-B headquarters in Camp Brig. Gen. Efigenio C. Navarro in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro.
The two officials assured residents of Mimaropa that they are solid behind the Marcos administration’s efforts to keep peace and order to further spur economic growth in the region. This they hope to achieve by ensuring the synergy of police and military efforts in addressing the presence of local communist terrorists, criminal elements and private armed groups thru close cooperation and inter-operability schemes.
The PRO4-B and the Army’s 203rd IB will be fully partnering to enforce the gun ban in the region in connection with the Sangguniang Kabataan and Barangay elections slated this coming October 30.
On orders of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, General Benjamin C. Acorda Jr., all police units across the country, with the support of the Armed Forces, will be strictly enforcing a nationwide gun ban during the 90-day election period for the 2023 barangay and SK polls.
During the period, only members of the PNP, AFP and other law enforcement agencies conducting actual performance of duties in their agency-prescribed uniform will be exempted from the gun ban. Agents of the Presidential Security Group guarding the First Family are automatically exempted from the ban.
The PNP will suspend all Permit-to-Carry-Firearms-Outside-of-Residence or Place of Business during the period. Thus, licensed gun-holders with PTCFORs have to first secure a Comelec gun ban exemption permit for them to be able to bring their guns outside their residence.
Gen. Acorda said that during the 90-day election period, they will strictly enforce all prohibited acts as enumerated under the Omnibus Election Code and other resolutions passed by the poll body.
A major prohibited act during the election period is the ‘bearing, carrying, or transporting of firearms or other deadly weapons in public places including any building, street, park, private vehicle, or public conveyance’ unless authorized in writing by the Comelec.
Also prohibited during the period is the use of security personnel or bodyguards by candidates.
The PRO4-B and the local Army are already talking to address operational gaps through the creation of additional clusters under the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Committee (JPSCC) created to foster a harmonious working relationship between the police and the military.
“We will endeavor to work as one. I believe that in order for the people to feel safe and secure, they need to see their soldiers and policemen working in harmony,” said Brig. Gen. Cabangbang, a highly-decorated Armed Forces official who took over as 203rd IB commander last April 29.
A member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 1991, Brig. Gen. Cabangbang used to be a commander of the elite Presidential Security Group during the previous Duterte administration.
A recipient of dozens of military awards and citations including the Outstanding Achievement Medal, Military Achievement Medal and the US Army Commendation Medal, Brig. Gen. Cabangbang highlighted the importance of synergy and teamwork between the Army and the Philippine National Police as both integral parts of the country’s security, stability and development mechanism.
For his part, Brig. Gen. Doria, a member of PNP Academy Class 1992 expressed his commitment to foster stronger and interoperability efforts with the Armed Forces of the Philippines most especially in the government’s campaign against insurgency.
“PRO MIMAROPA’s successful campaigns against insurgency and all forms of criminality are attributed to the active support from our AFP counterparts, most especially the 203rd IB in our areas of responsibility, said the official.
Brig. Gen. Doria was the director of the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group before he was designated as director of the PRO4-B which has jurisdiction over the provinces of Mindoro Oriental, Mindoro Occidental, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan.
Official PRO4-B records showed that since last January, the Mimaropa police force has already facilitated the voluntary surrender of 83 communist New People’s Army rebels in the region.
The latest NPA member to yield to the PRO4-B was identified as one ‘Ka Jacob,’ a 28-year old member of the CPP/NPA’s Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee who surrendered to officials of the Occidental Mindoro 1stProvincial Mobile Force Company last May 8.
Brig. Gen. Doria said that ‘Ka Jacob’ yielded to the government following talks with members of the Occidental Mindoro Police Provincial Office’s Provincial Intelligence Unit, the Regional Intelligence Unit 4-B, the 10th Special Action Battalion of the PNP Special Action Force and the Philippine Army.
“This is a solid manifestation of the effective and productive partnership of the PNP and the AFP through the NTF-ELCAC in the government’s goal to lasting peace and inclusive growth in the country,” the Mimaropa police director said as he appealed to the remaining CPP/NPA members and sympathizers in the region to surrender to the government and avail of its comprehensive local integration program which will allow them to return to the mainstream of the society.