Security forces in Mindanao on heightened alert for Ramadan | Inquirer News

Security forces in Mindanao on heightened alert for Ramadan

/ 03:57 PM July 26, 2011

CAMP SK PENDATUN, Maguindanao, Philippines—Police and military authorities remained on heightened alert in mainland Mindanao ahead of the month-long Ramadan of the Muslim faithful.

The fasting month of Ramadan is expected to commence on August 1, Monday.

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“As in the past, crimes and terrorism usually occur ahead of the fasting month, so we put our troops on alert status,” Director Felicissimu Khu, chief of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations (DIPO)-Western Mindanao.

In Cotabato City, Superintendent Roberto Badian, city police chief, said all police units in the city have been “one step” ahead of lawless elements that resulted in the reduced crime incidents in the city.

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Backing up the Philippine National Police is the 7th Marine Battalion Landing Team, which takes charge of security of the city’s periphery.

Citing intelligence reports, Khu said police units in the cities of Kidapawan, Cotabato, Tacurong, Koronadal and General Santos have been placed in heightened alert to thwart any destabilization plot by terrorist organizations.

Police and military forces are also on guard against kidnap for ransom gangs in the region who prey on Chinese-Filipino traders, according to Khu, also chief of Joint Task Force Kutawato.

Alert policemen and civilians foiled bombing attempts in Tacurong City and Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat last month.

The Army’s 6th Infantry Division, which covers the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi were also placed on alert.

Army and police checkpoints have been established along major highways where IEDs are usually transported.

More than 400 permanent and casual employees of the Cotabato City government are to receive their Ramadan bonus next week, Mayor Japal Guiani had announced.

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The city government maintains a mixture of Christian and Muslim employees.

Guiani said permanent employees, numbering more than 700, would receive a P5,000 bonus each while casual employees would get P2,500 each.

“We have appropriated a P5-million fund for the purpose,” Guiani said in a statement.

Fasting month is expected to commence on Monday, August 1 depending on the declaration of the Muslim’s House of Opinion composed of Muslim religious scholars, who will view the moon on Sunday night.

As practiced, Guiani said the work time for Muslim employees would also be adjusted from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily to give time for the Islam faithful to break their fast.

The breaking of the fast, locally known as “bukah” commences at 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. daily.

Guiani said he would form a group that would oversee the Ramadan activities at city hall.

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TAGS: Mindanao, Public Holidays, ramadan, Regions, Religion, Security
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