Sarangani villages activate defense force
Maasim, Sarangani (21 August) -- Sarangani town mayors were directed by Governor Migs Dominguez Wednesday (August 20) to organize a defense force in villages, particularly in coastal areas, to foil rouge armed groups from harming civilians.
The governor issued the order in the wake of Monday's dawn attack by suspected rogue elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in poblacion Maasim that killed two innocent civilians and wounded another.
Civilian volunteer organizations (CVOs) are authorized to carry firearms to defend the province from any intrusions of armed men.
Police regional director Felizardo Serapio has sent word that "civilians can be tapped with coordination with barangay captains and mayors," Dominguez said citing a constitutional right to defend life and limbs as well as property.
The first priority to be closely monitored is the coastal areas for intrusion or withdrawal of enemy troops. "Orders are to engage if enemy is visible," he said.
Municipal Disaster Coordinating Councils were activated immediately to prepare for any outbreak of hostilities as government troops are pursuing the armed men who attacked Maasim.
A military commander assured military operations are in "confined places" and "not widespread" that could affect civilians.
Lt. Col. Joshua Santiago, commander of the 27th Infantry Battalion, said government troops "know where they (MILF) are and we are following them."
Santiago said the ongoing military operation is in response to the crimes committed by the lawless elements that ransacked some business establishments in Maasim public market and killed two innocent civilians. (SIO-PIA 12) [top]