New WesMincom chief says offensive against Abu Sayyafs to continue

July 16, 2009 9:23 am 

ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 16 — Newly-installed Western Mindanao Command (WesMincom) chief Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mohammad Dolorfino said Thursday the offensive against the Abu Sayyaf bandits will be sustained “so that we will be able to eliminate this group the soonest time possible.”

Dolorfino disclosed there will be massive offensive against the Abu Sayyaf bandits, but it will be intelligence-driven and precise in nature to avoid collateral damage and displacement of civilians.

Dolorfino assumed Thursday as the third commander of Wesmincom that was activated on August 29, 2006 replacing Lt. Gen. Nelson Allaga, who retired from the military service as he reached the mandatory retirement age of 56.

“We will sustain the momentum of our combat operations as far as the Abu Sayyaf is concern. We are planning to enhance further the intensity of the operations so that we will be able to eliminate this group the soonest time possible,” Dolorfino told reporters in WesMincom headquarters, Zamboanga City.

Dolorfino did not mention any target date or deadline in eliminating the Abu Sayyaf bandits.

The government forces were continuously pursuing the Abu Sayyaf bandits, whose group is engaged in kidnappings of innocent civilians to include foreigners, in the island provinces of Sulu and Basilan.

But Dolorfino disclosed there will be a paradigm shift in the way they were conducting the Internal Security Operation (ISO) citing it will be a mix of 20 per cent combat operations and 80 per cent civil-military operations (CMO).

Dolorfino said he would enhance the fleet marine concept in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, where the Philippine Marine forces were based.

Dolorfino said he would also recommend a change in the structure of forces to be consistent with the fleet marine concept.

“It is designed to maximize the use of sea as a maneuver space in the conduct of fleet marine operations giving the commanders the flexibility in the use of forces in the different island provinces,” he disclosed.

Dolorfino said he would revive the internal security coordinating committee from the provincial down to the municipal level to promote good coordination between the military and other law enforcement agencies within WesMincom area.

He said the CMO will be conducted through multi-stakeholders’ dialogue, partnership and collaboration.

Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Victor Ibrado, who was the guest of honor in the turnover of command ceremony, said "Dolorfino is the best man for the job to lead the WesMincom after Allaga."

Ibrado said Dolorfino was suited for the job having served many years in Mindanao to include as Task Force Ranao and Second Marine Brigade chief based in Lanao.

Ibrado, Dolorfino and Allaga were classmates in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Maguilas” class of 1976. (PNA)

LAP/WI/Teofilo P. Garcia/rsm

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