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Army bolsters coordination with MILF, stakeholders in war on drugs

 

Officials of the Army-led Joint Task Force Central (JTFC) met with partner agencies and Moro rebel ceasefire panel members on Tuesday with the aim of ensuring the implementation of the ceasefire mechanism and the success of the campaign against illegal drugs in Central Mindanao.

Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID), hosted the meeting held at this camp in Barangay Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.

At the meeting were officials from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and in Region 12, Army brigade and battalion commanders as well as Moro Islamic Liberation Front Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (MILF-CCCH).

Sobejana, also chief of JTFC, said the goal of the joint conference is to review and revisit the mandates of relevant government agencies in the campaign against illegal drugs, issues on coordination and actual conduct of anti-drug operation.

It also aims to formulate measures to minimize, through proper inter-agency coordination, problems encountered in previous operations in affected communities within Central Mindanao.

Among the consensus was the need to observe coordination with the MILF-CCCH whenever law enforcement operations are to be conducted in recognized MILF camps.

Butch Malang, MILF-CCCH chair, assured that his group will fully cooperate with government law enforcers in the campaign against illegal drug personalities in MILF identified communities.

“The MILF leadership does not tolerate the use of illegal drugs as this is generally forbidden in Islam,” Malang said.

Sobejana presented his desire for peaceful communities as gatekeepers of peace in the region.

“We are the guards of the gates of change and we have to start the change within us,” Sobejana said, adding internal cleansing among the Army ranks is ongoing through drug tests and other means.

Sobejana noted the need for proper and effective inter-agency coordination, collaboration and cooperation with the PNP and PDEA as the lead agencies in all drug operations and to address capability gaps to accomplish the mission without casualties as much as possible.#