Gov. Hataman wants more CCTVs near ARMM compound

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/06 March) – Acting Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Mujiv Hataman is pushing for the installation of additional closed-circuit television or CCTV cameras in various strategic areas in Cotabato City in the wake of the recent series of bomb attacks in the area.

Hataman said he is presently coordinating with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other government security units in the area for the acquisition and installation of the additional CCTV cameras in areas that were hit by the previous bomb attacks, especially along the roads leading to the ARMM compound.

“The installation of the CCTVs will help our security and law enforcers in identifying the people or groups who might be behind these attacks,” he said in an interview over Bombo Radyo in Koronadal
City on Tuesday.

In January, the Cotabato City government initially installed 12 CCTV cameras worth P2 million in various parts of the city to help deter the occurrence of crime incidents and terror attacks in the area.

The CCTV cameras were reportedly installed covertly by police personnel to ensure that they would not be detected by criminal and terror elements operating in the area.

Aside from the installation of the surveillance cameras, Hataman said he has asked the PNP’s Directorate for Integrated Police Operations (DIPO)-Western Mindanao and the PNP-ARMM to study the security arrangements in Cotabato City and come up with a coordinated comprehensive security plan.

He admitted that the ARMM leadership has been facing difficulty in terms of implementing security measures in Cotabato City since it is not under their jurisdiction.

“We have a very unique situation in Cotabato City because our ORC (Office of the Regional Council) is based there but it is under the AOR (area of responsibility) of Region 12 and not the ARMM,” the
official said.

Last Saturday, two improvised bombs exploded outside ARMM’s ORC compound, injuring a local resident.

The first explosion occurred about 100 meters from the ARMM-ORC compound’s main gate while the second happened in front of the ARMM Regional Ports Management Authority office.

A third explosive fashioned from a live 81-millimeter mortar shell was also recovered by police and military personnel near the blast sites.

Col. Prudencio Asto, public affairs chief of the Army’s Sixth infantry Division, earlier said the recent attacks could have been staged by groups opposed to Hatman’s leadership.

He cited the previous recovery in the some of the blast sites of propaganda materials against Hataman that were supposedly issued by the  Bangsamoro Independence Movement and the Bangsamoro Youth Movement.

Although the bomb explosions happened just outside the ARMM ORC Compound along Gov. Gutierrez Avenue, Hataman said these have not so far affected the regional government’s operations in the area.

“It has not affected our regular operations, especially the reforms that we’ve been implementing,” he said.

The official said he doesn’t believe the attacks were directed at him or any of their offices and employees “since they happen almost on a monthly basis so far and Cotabato City’s local politics is quite complicated at the moment.” (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)