ARMM recommends immediate transfer of high profile detainees

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/01 September) — The Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is recommending the immediate transfer to Bicutan in Taguig of high profile inmates charged with terrorist acts and illegal drugs to prevent a repeat of the jailbreak in Marawi City last late Saturday afternoon.

The RPOC, which met behind closed doors in Cotabato City Wednesday also proposed the establishment of in-house prosecution and hearing areas for high profile inmates involved in terrorism and big time drug operations.

The two resolutions are to be submitted to the Office of the President and the Department of Justice, ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman told a press conference after the RPOC meeting.

Hataman said the high profile inmates in Marawi City should have been transferred to Bicutan immediately as their security could not be guaranteed by the jail guards.

Eight of the alleged members of the Maute group who were arrested on August 22 were “rescued” by some 50 heavily-armed members of the group late afternoon of August 27. Fifteen other inmates managed to escape.

The eight were arrested by Army troops and policemen who intercepted a Tamaraw FX van carrying explosives in Barangay Nanagun, Lumbayanague, Lanao del Sur.

Maj. Felimon Tan, spokesperson of the Armed Forces Western Command said the soldiers arrested eight persons in the van, among them three women.
Tan said the troops found an improvised explosive device (IED) fashioned from an 81-mm mortar attached to two other pipe bombs and triggering devices inside the Tamaraw vehicle.

At the RPOC meeting, Hataman also discussed the all-out offensives against the Abu Sayaff and Maute terror groups, alongside criminal gangs and drug traffickers.

Among the responses during the security meeting are that rehabilitation centers from the drug campaign will be headed by the Department of Health with deployment of more doctors and psychologists.

Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu, a member of the RPOC, allocated P50 million for the construction of a provincial jail and rehabilitation facility to be built in Buluan town with special facilities intended for drug dependents, in support of Malacanang’s anti-drugs campaign.
The facility will operate both as a provincial jail and a drug rehabilitation outfit, he said.

“This center shall have special reformatory programs like spiritual, social and livelihood interventions for prospective wards to really reform and become part of the mainstream again,” Mangudadatu said.

No figures were provided on the number of drug dependents in Maguindanao.

Mangudadatu also urged the RPOC to pass a resolution classifying the Maute group as a terrorist group out to sow chaos and instability in the region.

The Maute group in Lanao del Sur and the Abu Sayyaf operating in the island provinces of Sulu and Basilan, have been linked to the terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Hataman said ongoing military operations in the island-provinces of Sulu and Basilan had, as of Wednesday, displaced 2,000 individuals based on reports gathered from the affected towns.

In Sulu, displacements were noted in the towns of Patikul, Talipao, Indanan, Omar, and Kaluwang.

In Basilan, evacuations were also verified in Tipo-Tipo and Al-Barka, among others.

Hataman said he would be deploying the ARMM-HEART (Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team) to the the affected areas in Basilan and Sulu to attend to the needs of the evacuees. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)