PNP, AFP, Muslim leaders vow to prevent terror in Central Visayas
CEBU CITY – In attaining peace, collaboration is key.
With this in mind, Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), and Major General Raul del Rosario, commander of the Armed Forces’ Central Command, met with Muslim leaders in Cebu, on Tuesday, hoping to strengthen ties.
Some 30 local Muslim leaders went to the San Nicolas Proper Barangay Hall in Cebu City and vowed to support the government in maintaining peace and order in the community.
“Lahat tayo ay Pilipino. Iisang lahi ang pinangalingan natin. Walang Muslim o Kristiyano. Lahat tayo ang magkapareho. Magkapareha ang kulay ng ating dugo. Kaya, dapat tulong-tulong tayo sa ating inaasam na kapayapaan,” said Taliño while addressing the crowd gathered outside the barangay hall. (All of us are Filipinos. We belong to the same race. There’s is neither Muslim nor Christian. We are equal. The same blood runs through our veins. And so, we should help each other attain the peace we all want).
Taliño, a former chief of the Special Action Force, said President Rodrigo Duterte has taken significant steps to eliminate illegal drugs, crimes, and corruption but that momentum has been threatened by a terrorist group.
“Masakit yong nangyari sa Davao City. Kung mawawala sana ang ganitong mga bagay, napakaganda sana ng ating kominidad. (The bomb attack in Davao was painful. If events like this vanish, we would have a better community),” he said.
Taliño said the support shown by the Muslim community in Cebu made him very happy.
“This really is a big help,” he said.
Malo Manunggiring, director of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos in Central Visayas, said the Muslim community in the region has been very supportive of law enforcers and the local government units for several years.
“What we do now is only to enhance what has already been achieved,” he told reporters.
“We understand each other. You accept us as your neighbors and we also compensate the respect you give us,” he added.
Manunggiring promised to monitor Muslims in the region so as to avert any terror attacks.
“We should police our ranks. We do it not just verbally but also in practice. Let us help our authorities and our President (Rodrigo Duterte),” he said.
Manunggiring condemned the bomb attack in a night market in Davao City last Friday that killed at least 15 people and wounded about 60 individuals.
“That is unIslamic. That has no place in Islam or in any other religion,” he said.
Major General Del Rosario said the Central Command has augmented the police force in the region to ensure the safety of the public.
“We have jointly intensified security in the seaports, airports, and other points of entry. The threats are always there. Even President Duterte’s own city, which was well secured, fell prey to bombing,” he said.
“Terrorists can strike anywhere. We have to be alert,” he added.
Both the PRO-7 and the Central Command have been placed under full alert status following the explosion in Davao City last Friday.
Taliño has ordered numerous checkpoints and sent additional troops on the field to ensure the safety of the public.
Last Saturday, President Duterte declared “a state of lawlessness” or “a state of lawless violence” to counter terrorism and strengthen the campaign against illegal drug trade.
Hours after the attack, Interior Secretary Mike Sueno said the Abu Sayyaf group claimed responsibility for the explosion in Davao City.
However, the terrorist group denied owning the attack. Muammar Askali alias Abu Ramie, the self-styled spokesperson of the Al Harakatul Al Islamiya, the Abu Sayyaf’s official name, pointed to an ally as that behind the deadly explosion.
In a phone call to the Philippine Daily Inquirer last Saturday, Askali said the group behind the blast was Daulat Ul Islamiya. SFM
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