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PIA Press Release
2009/03/05

Military to look into alleged MNLF armed force recruitment

by JMD Abangan

Tagum City (5 March) -- The military will look into the reported armed force recruitment of a group allegedly identified with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in San Isidro, Davao del Norte.

"We still have to look into the veracity of the reports," Major Froilan Orquia, battalion commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) 3rd Special Forces Battalion said during the Wednesday meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting.

Orquia could neither confirm nor deny it because San Isidro is not within the area of responsibility of his command but he said that he had received the same report from the Municipality of Laak.

He explained that members of the MNLF armed forces had long been integrated into the AFP after the government forged a peace agreement with the former rebel group in 1996.

Local legislative officer Eulalio H. Cuestas Jr., who represented Vice Governor Victorio Suaybaguio during the PPOC meeting bared reports of the alleged recruitment of a group identified with the MNLF.

In a separate interview, Cuestas said he had known of such alleged recruitment from acquaintances who claimed to have become members of the group which, he said, had established a detachment at the heart of the residential community in Purok Guadalupe of San Isidro.

He said Mayor Tomas Abelita of San Isidro had already called the attention of the group but it has continued its operation and is now into training its members who, he said, are wearing military fatigue but are not in combat boots.

Disclosing that the group's detachment is near his residence, he said he was prompted to bring the matter before the PPOC as community folks of San Isidro and members of Gagmayng Kristohanong Katilingban (GKK) had been asking about the group.

But he said the group has so far not been committing violent actions.

Provincial Governor Rodolfo P. del Rosario during the PPOC meeting instructed Municipal Mayors' League-Davao del Norte chapter president Mayor Nestor L. Alcoran of New Corella to bring the matter before the league, discuss this among the mayors and submit a report to the PPOC.

On the other hand, Orquia reported that insurgency is no longer much a problem in Davao del Norte and in fact the Guerilla Front 33 is recommended to be classified as a "down-graded" force.

He said the military has driven the New People's Army (NPA) forces to as far as Agusan in CARAGA Region and Paquibato in Davao City.

The AFP 3rd Special Force is covering Panabo City, Tagum City, Carmen, Talaingod, New Corella, Asuncion, half of Compostela Valley province and the entire Paquibato area, Orquia said. (PIA XI) [top]

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