Ipil mayor lauds residents’ vigilance vs security threats

IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay (MindaNews/12 November) —  The vigilance of residents here have “greatly contributed”  in ensuring no untoward incidents would happen in the wake of military-police pursuit operations against lawless elements in neighboring towns in Zamboanga Sibugay.

“The people here are very vigilant that you can’t even leave a bag or any box outside any public places because after 30 minutes, somebody will report that to our PNP (Philippine National Police) or AFP (Armed Forces of the Phlippines) and will consider it as a suspicious item and the authorities can immediately respond and act on the situation,” Mayor Eldwin Alibutan, said.

To recall, the town of Ipil was sacked on April 4, 1995 by armed men who fired at soldiers, policemen and civilians, killing at least 50. The armed men also robbed banks and set the public market on fire.

Last month, two bomb threats were reported  as government troops clashed with lawless elements in Sitio Talaib, Barangay Labatan in the municipality of Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Authorities immediately responded. Bomb squads from both the military and police  were deployed.

These immediate responses were due to the reports of the people in Ipil who saw the said suspicious items, the mayor said.

“This shows our level of vigilance and I am very thankful that Ipileños are concerned with their surroundings. The authorities can’t quickly respond without the people reporting to them about a suspicious item. This led to the discovery that all were just false alarm and there was actually no bomb at all. But the important thing in those incidents is the concern of the people who immediately reported it to the PNP and AFP”, added Alibutdan.

“Their vigilance is also accompanied by their trust in the the capability and skills of our PNP, as well as our AFP because there is no way that they will report to the authorities if they don’t trust them,” the mayor said.  (Paulnezar Tadle Lontua/MindaNews)