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PIA Press Release
2009/10/22

AFP holds forum with civil society organizations in Sulu

Jolo, Sulu (22 October) -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines through the initiative of the Joint Task Force Comet and 3rd Marine Brigade held a dialogue and open forum with the different civil society organization at Humanitarian Aid Coordinating Center (HACC), Camp Bautista, Bus-Bus, Jolo, Sulu last 20 October 2009.

As part of the program, the various infrastructure projects in the different municipalities of Sulu being implemented by the joint efforts of AFP and the JSOTF-P were presented.

WESMINCOM Chief MGEN MOHD BENJAMIN D DOLORFINO AFP was the keynote speaker and during the open forum, he clarified the question regarding the conduct of air strike that happened last 20 September 2009.

MGEN DOLORFINO stressed that the attack was a necessary move of the military to ensure security of the civilians and to prevent further escalation of violence since the Abu Sayyaf Group took advantage of the Eid'l Fitri celebration to ploy their atrocities.

He also emphasized that he do not want to duplicate the 1973 Jolo incident and 1994 Ipil attack which was perpetrated by the terrorist Abu Sayyaf.

On the other hand, Joint Task Force Comet Commander BGEN RUSTICO O GUERRERO AFP clarified on the disinformation issues against the AFP being circulated as propaganda of the lawless elements since their concern is not focused merely on physical violence but also to create as well a catastrophic fear among the civilians.

Moreover, Guerrero added that the disinformation strategy of the enemies could greatly affect the peace and order situation in the area. The civilians should not easily believe on the disinformation being circulated and must validate with the concerned authority to once and for all clarify the issues.

Meanwhile, Dolorfino added the expanded Civil Military Operation (CMO) is not sufficient and fully realized by CMO alone in addressing the problem in Sulu , it requires a nation building scheme through collaborative efforts with the different stakeholders of concerned Suluanos.

Nevertheless, at the end of the forum, different solutions to the issues tackled were discussed. Gen Dolorfino urges the participants the needs of exerting more efforts through collaborative efforts, since the problem is Sulu is everybody's concern.

The military will always keep its mandated task and will do every possible means to achieve peace and development where the military is a pro peace advocate. (4CRG, CRSAFP/PIA9-BST) [top]

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