Friday, January 20, 2017

Defense Secretary, AFP Brass Visit Farthest Phil Island


From the Website of AFP
links:  http://www.afp.mil.ph/index.php/8-afp-news/389-defense-secretary-afp-brass-visit-farthest-phil-island

Defense Secretary, AFP Brass Visit Farthest Phil Island

CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana accompanied by the AFP Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año and the Chiefs of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force on Wednesday 18 January 2017 visited the island Municipality of Sibutu – the county's southwestern most island – to visit the troops and enlist the support of the community in the government's campaign against terrorism, kidnapping, piracy, and illegal drugs in this part of the archipelago.

After a situation brief, Secretary Lorenzana proceeded to dialogue with some of the municipal and barangay officials led by the mayor, the Chair and membership of the Association of 16 Barangay Captains, and military commanders in Tawi-tawi.

Lorenzana expressed the need for the cooperation of local leaders in the national well-being.

He emphasized that it is not enough that the military provides the security. Good governance and the cooperation of the people are essential ingredients for progress to set in.

Sibutu Mayor Alshefa Pajiji meanwhile laments the incidence of kidnappings around the island that adversely affects his municipality. He wishes it stopped. He committed to his "esteemed visitors" his support and that of his constituents to help in the campaign to end the criminal activities of the ASG among other concerns.

General Año assures the Mayor of the AFP's focused and unrelenting campaign vs. ASG. He noted however that the ASGs can only thrive in places where they can find refuge or support.

Hence the people of Sibutu can help a lot by denying the ASGs sanctuary and logistics.

The people should be actively involved in monitoring the arrival of strangers or the happening of criminal activities in the island. The resident should organize themselves to be active partners of government in providing security, livelihood, and development opportunities.

Mr. Calbi Nami, the President of the Association of Barangay Captains, for his part, sought the assistance of government for solar lights to illuminate their streets and communities to uplift the lives of some 30 Thousand residents of the Municipality.

General Año mentioned that AFP partner-stakeholders have, in the past, successfully embarked on similar solar lights project. He said his commanders can call on the said groups anew to discuss the possibility of engaging on another project for Sibutu thru the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi under the command of Brigadier General Custodio Parcon, Jr.

After the meeting, Mayor Pajiji expressed his elation and the gratitude of his people. "It's been many years since this municipality was ever visited by a high government official, much less by a Secretary of National Defense.

"We are even more blessed today that the AFP Chief of Staff and his top commanders came with him to see our condition. Magsukol, Daghang Salamat po. (Thank you, Thank you very much)." Pajiji said.

Defense Secretary Lorenzana, Gen Año, and the Commanding General Phil Army LTGen Glorioso Miranda; Philippine Navy Flag Officer in Command VAdm Ronald Joseph Mercado; the Commanding General of the Phil Air Force LTGen Edgar Fallorina; and 11 other generals and flag officers from the Department of National Defense, the General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, and Western Mindanao Command, to include the Director National Intelligence Coordinating Agency Alex Monteagudo are in Zamboanga, Sulu, and Tawi-tawi primarily to visit the troops and be able to meet with the people in the areas where these Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and Marines are deployed.

Earlier in the day, this delegation from the defense establishment met with the local and religious leaders of Simunul Island that hosts the oldest mosque that became the precursor of Islam religion in the Philippines.



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