More gov’t troops sent to Zamboanga City to fight MNLFBy Carla P. Gomez
BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines — More government troops from Negros Occidental were dispatched to Zamboanga City, which has been paralyzed since Monday last week when Moro National Liberation Front members loyal to founder Nur Misuari attacked the city.
Senior Supt. Allan Guisihan, deputy director for operations of the Police Regional Office in Western Visayas (PRO-6), said the 120 members of the 6th Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) were transported on Friday night by an Air Force C130 cargo plane to Zamboanga from the airport here.
Two days earlier, the Army’s elite 1st Scout Ranger Battalion, composed of about 500 men, was also pulled out from Negros Island and sent to Mindanao.
Guisihan, who led the send-off ceremony of the 6th RPSB troopers headed by its battalion commander, Supt. Iver Apellido, said the police contingent unit would serve as support units of the Philippine Army and Marine troopers, who have been fighting the Moro National Liberation Front in Zamboanga City.
Before they were airlifted to Mindanao, Guisihan said the 6th RPSB troopers were briefed on do’s and dont’s in dealing with Muslim people.
He allayed fears of Negrenses that the pullout of 6th RPSB troopers might create a security vacuum in Negros Occidental, stressing that there have been enough government troops assigned to the province.
Apellido, a battle-tested police Special Action Force trooper, said he picked 30 men from each of the four 6th RPSB companies assigned in Negros Occidental and Iloilo, to prevent a security vacuum.
He added that a platoon-size unit of the 6th RPSB has been helping the Zamboanga City Police Office in the conduct of checkpoints on possible exit areas of fleeing MNLF-Nur Misuari faction members, with 40 other personnel distributed in other government designated controlled areas.