AFP denies 'unusual troop movement' in Mindanao

April 3, 2010 11:59 pm 

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, April 3 – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Saturday categorically denied allegation of “unusual and uncoordinated troop movements” in Mindanao in preparation for failure of elections on May 10, 2010.

In a separate phone interviews, the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMincom), under the command of Lt. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer, and the Western Mindanao Command (WestMincom), under the command of Lt. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, said that any movement of troops were officially coordinated in all units and no such thing as “unusual or an uncoordinated troop movements”.

Eastcom is based in Davao Gulf while WestMincom is based in Zamboanga Peninsula.

The two major commands of the AFP in the south made their official statement following allegation by some sector that the military’s uncoordinated mass movement in Maguindanao is allegedly being noted.

The mass movement was allegedly meant to “provoke” sporadic clashes in the south to set the stage for a failure of elections.

“This is not true,” said a military officer of EastMincom who requested anonymity.

The separate information gathered from EastMincom and WestMincom said that the deployment of troops at various strategic places in the island was for the safety of motorists and vacationists during the Lenten Week period and the forth-coming May 2010 national and local elections.

The EastMincom and WestMincom said they were assisting the Commission on Election (Comelec) and Philippine National Police (PNP) in ensuring that the May 2010 polls would be peaceful, credible and orderly.

They said that troops would mainly address threats posed by communist-New People’s Army (NPA), “lawless MILF” rebels, the Abu Sayyaf Group and other kidnap for ransom group and not the MILF as an organization.

Earlier, the MILF reported on its website Luwaran.com various incidents of troop movements, which the MILF leadership was not informed about. The secessionist group said this was in violation with the truce agreement.

In a another development, a gunbattle between government security forces and communist terrorists erupted at Purok 4 Sitio (sub-village) Bucasao, Barangay (village) Calaitan, Bayugan City on Thursday afternoon, police reported Saturday.

Police said an NPA rebel was critically wounded while no casualty was reported from the government side during the gunbattle.

Operating troops of the 26th Infantry Battalion recovered an M16 Armalite rifle from the encounter site.

The rebels were reportedly members of the communist-Front Committee 21-B of the CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Command.

As this developed, hot pursuit operation is still going on at upper portion of Calaitan village. (PNA) RMA/MUC/rsm

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