COTABATO CITY: This city is safe from infiltration by terrorists with local executives and barangay (village) chairmen closely guarding the perimeters and waterways, military officials here said.
Major Gen. Arnel de la Vega, commanding general of the 6th Infantry Division, said they have secured all possible entry points to prevent lawless elements and Islamic militants from using these rivers while five boat docks are now being set up.
City Information Officer Halima Satol-Ibrahim on Wednesday said Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi signed an executive order last September 11 providing for strict security measures around the city especially along the rivers.
Most of the 37 villages in Cotabato City are traversed by rivers that spring from the 220,000 hectare Liguasan Marsh with tributaries in Rio Grande de Mindanao.
Aside from building the boat docks in the riverside areas of Bucana, Matampay, Tamontaka, Kalanganan and Timako, Guiani-Sayadi also ordered the tagging of boats cruising through the villages with numbers and identification marks.
Satol-Ibrahim said operation of the docks are closely monitored by the city police and Army units under the Joint Task Force Kutawato (JTFK), which was launched last April comprised of Army and police units and law enforcement outfits.
Troopers of the Army’s 5th Special Forces Battalion are patrolling the rivers here periodically using Australian-made airboats fitted with machine guns.