Inside out

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AFP, PNP confident dissolution won’t worsen Mindanao crisis

Posted by Abi Kwok on September 3, 2008

3,500 cops to be sent to region

By Abigail Kwok, Katherine Evangelista
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 14:05:00 09/03/2008

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) The military and police are confident that the dissolution of the government peace panel negotiating with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front would not worsen the conflict in Mindanao.

But the military is hoping that the Arroyo administration would install a new mechanism that would take into account the present situation in the south, said Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres, spokesman for the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

At the same time, Torres said that the military was prepared to counter any threat resulting from the government’s decision to scrap the peace panel.

He also defended the move as a “necessary shift” to more responsive mechanisms “to attain lasting peace in Mindanao.”

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is set to deploy 3,500 additional policemen in “critical areas” in Mindanao, according to PNP Director General Avelino Razon Jr.

Razon said that full alert status would also remain in the region and even in Metro Manila for possible attacks from the Moro rebels.

Razon said critical areas would include the town of Palma in North Cotabato and the town of Kulambugan in Lanao del Norte.

But Razon said he was confident that the dissolution of the peace panel would not worsen the situation in Mindanao.

“Hindi maapektuhan yung sitwasyon sa Mindanao nung pag-dissolve ng peace panel [The situation in Mindanao won’t be affected even with the dissolution of the peace panel],” he added.

The 3,500 policemen will undergo field training and will be deployed “as soon as possible,” Razon said.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered a “thorough review” of all government peace initiatives after dissolving the peace panel. Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said this was in line with the President’s policy shift of talking directly to the communities to resolve conflicts.

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