Sat. May 25th, 2019

Authorities guarding central Mindanao folk from terror plots

Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, (2nd from right), 6th ID chief speaks during Maguindanao PPOC meeting on fake news spreading in his AOR. (contributed photo).

COTABATO CITY — Officials on Friday urged for sobriety among the local Muslim, Christian and Lumad communities amid malicious text messages warning of terror attacks circulating around.

The text messages started spreading in many parts of Mindanao after explosions ripped through a cathedral in Jolo town in Sulu and a mosque in Zamboanga City resulting in the deaths of worshipers.

Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division said Friday people should refrain from spreading the text messages and posts on fictitious Facebook accounts purporting bomb plots and sightings of Islamic militants roaming around carrying improvised explosive devices.

“These are practically whimsical and preposterous text messages and Facebook warnings, possibly instigated by a `third party’ either for fun or just to confuse people,” Sobejana said.

The Regional Police Office-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao announced on Friday that non-uniformed intelligence agents have been deployed in strategic areas as part of the security measures meant to forestall possible intrusions by Islamic State-inspired terrorists.

Chief Superintendent Graciano Mijares, director of PRO-ARMM, said he is grateful to the provincial peace and order councils in Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao for cooperating with their security initiatives.

The 6th ID covers the whole of Maguindanao and several towns in Lanao del Sur, both component-provinces of ARMM where residents have complained of having received text messages with scary security advisories.

Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, chairperson of the Maguindanao provincial peace and order council told reporters Friday that residents in the province should only listen to advisories from PRO-ARMM and the 6th ID.

“The local communities are helping authorities maintain law and order. We just have to be vigilant. It is only with vigilance and patriotism that we can surmount the security challenges we face each day,” he said.

Mangudadatu said local officials in the province are also active in protecting their Christian constituents from violent religious extremists stoking animosity towards non-Muslims.

John Unson

John Unson, The Philippine Star's writer and the president of the Kampilan Defense Press Corps (KDPC) based in Sixth Infantry Division (6th ID) at Camp Siongco, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.