Fort Magsaysay adjusts security measures after Balikatan theft
A theft incident during Balikatan exercises has prompted Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija to adjust its security measures, a military official has said.
“The whole security measure of the camp is being readjusted to fit to the security requirement of the Balikatan forces,” said Army’s 7th Infantry Division chief Maj. Gen. Glorioso Miranda on Wednesday.
“It is sad to note that bad elements took advantage of the situation and grabbed the opportunity to steal the personal belongings of the US forces.”
Four US personnel participating in the Balikatan exercises lost their belongings on April 9 around 1:30 a.m. inside the Exercise Relations Construction (ERC) compound at Special Operations Command in the 7th Infantry Division.
The four US troops arrived on April 8 and were part of the advanced forces and were billeted temporarily at the ERC compound while waiting for the whole contingent to arrive.
Miranda said the incident happened when the security measures within the exercise area were being readjusted.
“I would like to convey my message to all soldiers residing inside Fort Magsaysay that the security measure being implemented inside the camp is part of the overall security contingency to prevent the same incident from happening in the near future,” Miranda said.
“I would like you to understand that we are doing this security measures not only to protect the soldier but also to help in the security of nearby barangays from bad elements.”
Capt. Mark Anthony Ruelos, public affairs chief of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division, said the suspects, who were staying near the camp, were still under surveillance.
The items reported missing included one Samsung cell phone; one pair of military boots; one pair of rubber shoes; one wallet containing US credit card and driver’s license; US Army military ID; one pair of slippers; two pairs of rubber shoes; $2,150 and P2,000.
The military police recovered the missing personnel belongings which were turned over to the US Army on April 19, except for the cash and one pair of rubber shoes.
The items were recovered in a grassy area some 500 meters away from the compound, Ruelos said.
The Balikatan exercises will end on Thursday at the Commission Officers Club in Clark Air Base. Officials expected to attend are Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and AFP chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr. RC
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