Task Force Butuan is chaired by City Councilor Randolph “Doy” Plaza, son of Mayor Democrito Plaza II.
The councilor said the task force would augment the city’s regular police force in fighting all forms of criminality and ensuring peace and order in the locality.
He said the 300 Army soldiers and members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) were trained on anti-insurgency and urban warfare in Davao City.
Plaza explained that those who were trained on anti-insurgency will be deployed in rural barangays, while those who specialized on urban warfare would run after organized criminals, drugs syndicates and others involved in illegal activities in urban villages.
“The people of Butuan should not be afraid,” he said in an interview aired over radio here. He stressed that those who have criminal intentions should only be the ones who will be afraid with the task force’s creation.
Plaza assured that the 300 would be “purely for the security of Butuan.”
The young Plaza, however, said that the task force is not yet fully operational at this time since there is still a need to set up a communication center. He pointed out that they need special training on communication networking, particularly in responding calls for emergency assistance.
“We are now gathering information, particularly on barangays prone to illegal drugs activities, and will set up checkpoints using the K-9 dogs,” Plaza said. He singled out Barangay Ong Yui as prone to illegal drug activities and thus being watched closely by the task force.
Plaza said Task Force Butuan is patterned after Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s Task Force Davao, a police and military unit created in 2003. Duterte’s TFD set up headquarters right in the heart of the city and set up checkpoints in strategic areas. It deployed personnel to patrol the streets and roam the malls – in full battle gear.
Butuan, whose total population is 298,378 in the 2007 census, is composed of 86 barangays, 27 of which are classified as urban barangays; the rest are considered rural. (Alden C. Pantaleon Jr. / MindaNews)