132 police from Luzon start returning home

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CAMP ALAGAR, Cagayan De Oro City: A contingent of about 132 policemen and officers who were assigned to augment the police force in Northern Mindanao at the height of the Marawi siege are returning to their home units in Luzon.

Police regional command spokesman, Supt. Lemuel Gonda, said that Chief Supt. Timoteo Pacleb, police regional director in Northern Mindanao, led the send-off ceremony at the regional police office here on Friday.

He said the contingent is composed of elements from the police regional office in Camp Vicente Lim, Calamba, Laguna (PRO4A) and the police regional office in Camp Olivas, Pampanga (PRO3) who were sent to Northern Mindanao to help secure the cities of Iligan and Cagayan De Oro when martial law was declared in May.

During the send-off, Pacleb distributed letters of commendation to the 61 PRO3 and 71 PRO 4A contingents.

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In his message, the Northern Mindanao director said the policemen and the officers of the delegation would “always be our heroes.”

“Thank very much for your service, your bravery and sacrifice for our country. Thank you very much for helping maintain peace in Northern Mindanao,” he added.

Gonda said the PRO3 contingent departs on Saturday on board a C-130 military plane, while the PRO4A contingent would follow in the coming days because it is still at the regional police command here.

The PRO3 which is based in Camp Olivas, Pampanga covers Region 1, 2, and 3 in Northern Luzon while PRO 4A in Camp Vicente Lim in Calamba, Laguna covers Calabarzon.

The war in Marawi, perpetrated by the Islamic State (IS)-inspired Maute group started on May 23 and ended officially on October 23 after Isnilon Hapilon, the self-designated “emir” of IS in Southeast Asia was killed by state forces together with his local counterpart, Omarkhayam Maute.

President Rodrigo Duterte officially announced the cessation of hostilities in Marawi City and ordered various government agencies and the military to lead the reconstruction and the rehabilitation of the only Islamic city in the country from the rubles of war.

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