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PIA Press Release

Police creates Task Force MAKIMA to address instability in Sarangani

ICC General Santos City (10 October) -- In anticipation of yet another treacherous attack from the lawless members of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Sarangani Provincial Police Office organized task force MAKIMA, which stands for the adjoining municipalities of Maasim, Kiamba, and Maitum in Sarangani Province.

According to police the task force created on Tuesday (October 7) is committed to "oversee and coordinate planning efforts, especially tactical operations, legal offenses and rehabilitation efforts" in the conflict areas.

The three municipalities became preys to the hostilities of MILF rebels driving out hundreds of civilians out of their homes and making life especially for children miserable.

Sarangani Police Provincial office provincial director PSSupt. Danilo Peralta heads the task force with Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), local chief executives (LCEs) and the chiefs of police of the three municipalities as members.

Governor Migs Dominguez assured the funding for the task force's operations believing in the local initiatives and the courage and judgment of the men and women members of the AFP, PNP and local chief executives involved in addressing the problem of instability in the areas.

"I am expressing my appreciation to the perfect synergy of all cooperating units from the police, AFP particularly the Philippine Army, also Philippine Navy who have put together all their resource systems in ensuring that this area, that this region be safe from atrocity," Gov. Dominguez told media at yesterday's press conference (Oct 8) presenting the five MILF surrenderers not in person though, but thru a video footage at the Joint Task Force GenSan conference room.

On Wednesday morning, the lawless MILF group (LMG), military said had sent surrender feeler to Kiamba Mayor Rommel Falgui who in turned coordinated with the police and the Philippine Army's 25th Infantry Battalion Commander Major Rolando Rodil.

Rodil identified the leader of the surrenderers as Rico Watamama, 107th MILF base command deputy brigade commander.

A day before that, police accompanied by members of the 25thIB served an arrest warrants for the three households at sitio Puago, barangay Datu Dani, Kiamba believed to be hiding dens of the perpetrators responsible for the burning of the barangay hall, day care center, and three other structures in barangay Gasi, also in Kiamba.

Avoiding arrest, the rebels attempted to escape only to encounter the blocking force of the elements of 25thIB, thus a firefight that lasted for 30 minutes ensued wounding Watamama and another member.

"Palagay ko may maraming namatay sa kanila sa pagkakataon lang iyon. Ang latest nareceive ko kanina na bilisan ang pagrecover sa kanila baka masawi pa sila dahil sa loss of blood," Army Col. Edgardo de Leon, commander of 73rdIB, said.

"Tuloy tuloy pa rin ang pursuit operations at nakablocking positon po yung mga tropa natin. Nakakalat na po ang buong elements ng 73rd, 25th, 72nd sa tatlong munisipyo dito sa first district ng Sarangani iyong tinatawag natin MAKIMA," he added.

PSSupt. Peralta said police is conducting further investigation to determine whether the Victor Watamama in the warrant of arrest issued by Judge Jaime Infante of the Regional Trial Court Branch 38 and surrenderer Rico Watamama are one and the same.

Col. Rainier Cruz, commander of the 1002nd Brigade said the task force has initially identified areas or locales that could be possible targets of LMG's attack. "We have discussed what areas on MAKIMA are vulnerable or landing zone of the MILF," he explained.

Aside from an integrated defense and feasible strong points in the upland, the task force is also ensuring security at shoreline and checkpoint along Maharlika highway traversing the three towns.

Other members of the task force also include the Department of Health, Regional Disaster Coordinating Council, Department of Social Welfare and Development, their local counterparts and non-governmental organization. (PIA SarGen) [top]

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