North Cotabato asks Army to realign 57th IB to better address security issuesBy Edwin Fernandez
Philippine Daily Inquirer
CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao, Philippines – North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Mendoza and the provincial board have asked the military leadership to transfer the operational and administrative supervision of the 57th Infantry Battalion to the Army’s 602nd Brigade based in Carmen town “for easy and faster coordination in addressing security issues.”
The military’s 6th Infantry Division is still studying the request of North Cotabato provincial officials reverting the Army’s 57th Infantry Battalion to its mother unit, the 6th ID.
An official of the 6th ID privy to the request said Maj. Gen. Romeo Gapuz, 6th ID chief, has been studying it and has consulted higher command.
The 602nd brigade is one of the three component brigades of the 6th ID.
Currently, the 57th IB, which is based in Makilala town, is under the operation and administrative control of 1002nd Infantry Brigade based in Malungon, Sarangani province. The 1002nd brigade is under the 10th Infantry Division, which is based in Davao City.
Known as New Peoples’ Army (NPA) nemesis in North Cotabato because of its aggressive tactical operations against communist guerrillas in North Cotabato, the 57th IB was placed under the jurisdiction and control of the 10th ID, which was supposed to focus on hunting down communist guerrillas while units under the 6th ID were supposed to focus on peace and development initiatives.
Threats in areas under the 6th ID have been reduced due to the ongoing peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Mendoza said the letter request was also forwarded to the office of Armed Forces Chief of Staff Emmanuel Bautista and Defense Sec. Voltaire Gazmin.