Gov. Zubiri backs creation of Bukidnon-NorthCot military task force

The resolution was passed shortly after the ambush staged by the New People’s Army’s (NPA) in President Roxas town in North Cotabato that killed three soldiers and wounded 21 others.

The latest attack against the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion took place just a few kilometers from North Cotabato’s boundary with Bukidnon’s Damulog town.

The proposed joint task force would be spearheaded by the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), particularly the 1002nd Infantry Brigade base in Malungon town in Sarangani.

“We have to take bold steps because we can’t allow the NPAs to just crisscross both provinces and abused the inhabitants,” Zubiri said over radio.

The governor said that based on reports reaching him, 500 rebels are operating and crisscrossing the boundary of Bukidnon and Cotabato province.

He admitted, however, that the areas un the influence of the rebels have been neglected by government, the reason why residents are being exploited by the rebels.

With the task force, board member Rey Pagal (2nd District, Cotabato) said that the problem of “military bureaucracy” would be addressed. He noted that at present, soldiers belonging to separate commands could not just cross each other’s area of responsibility as freely as the rebels.

“If we put limitations, then the operations will not be a success. We must open our boundaries,” Zubiri stressed.

The NPA’s Front 53 based in the mountains of Arakan and Bukidnon admitted the ambush against the Army. A day after said incident, the NPAs also raided a paramilitary detachment and disarmed a barangay official whom they accused of supporting the military. (MindaNews)