24-hour checkpoint put up in 2 provinces

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COTABATO CITY: The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have established a round the clock border checkpoint in the town of Barangay Saliao, Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat to prevent transport of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), unlicensed guns and illegal drugs.

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Chief Inspector Bryan Bernardino, Esperanza town police chief, and 1st Lt. Jano Reyes, commanding officer of 57th Infantry Battalion Alpha Company, will lead the inspection of all vehicles on rotation basis on the checkpoint along the Sultan Kudarat-Maguindanao highway.

“This is in response to the directive of the chief of the PNP to conduct 24/7 checkpoint in all strategic areas to prevent transport of improvised bombs and illegal drugs,” Bernardino said, referring to PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.

The 24/7 checkpoint also aims to monitor movements of Private Armed Groups (PAGs), criminal groups, guns-for-hire, as as well as terrorist plans of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and kidnap for ransom (KFR) gangs on the border of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat provinces.

Esperanza is the last town of Sultan Kudarat bordering Maguindanao where suspected bombers, illegal drug pushers and kidnap for ransom gangs originate.

Last Thursday, residents alerted the police about the presence of a bag left unattended in front of a roadside restaurant.

Police bomb experts found no bomb inside the bag.

 JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL

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