Army redeploys brigade out of former MILF camp in Maguindanao

July 1, 2015 9:19 am 

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao, June 30 — Military authorities in Maguindanao have moved out an Army brigade from Camp Abubakar, the former bailiwick of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which fell to government hands in 2000, an indication of normalcy in the northern part of Maguindanao.

The entire Army brigade was moved back Tuesday to its former base in Barangay Pigcalagan, Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao.

Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, 6th Infantry Division commander, folded the 603rd Brigade flag in ceremonies witnessed by Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Maguindanao with Cotabato City Rep. Bai Sandra Sema.

Pangilinan said the redeployment was part of regular military activity, adding that what was moved out of the former MILF camp were offices and command centers.

Col. Ariel Dela Vega, 603rd brigade chief, said the 600-man 37th Infantry Battalion will remain in Camp Abubakar located in the tri-boundaries of Matanog, Barira and Buldon.

Under the 603rd brigade are Army Special Forces Battalion, 37th, 39th and 6th Infantry Battalions.

After the fall of MILF’s biggest camp in June 2000, the 603rd brigade was deployed in the rebels’ former base to prevent MILF from recapturing it.

The camp fell following weeks of air, artillery and ground offensives that completed the “all out war” policy of then President Joseph Estrada.

At least a million residents have been displaced as the armed conflict escalated to North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte.

More than 100 government troops, 200 Moro rebels and scores of civilians were believed killed in the all out war offensives.

The symbolic folding of the brigade’s banner was followed by the transport of all brigade’s personnel, equipment, ammunition, artillery and infantrymen’s personal belongings, with local and regional political officials standing as witnesses.

Brig. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr, chair of the GPH ceasefire panel and his counterpart in the MILF, Rashid Ladiasan were also present.

Hataman said the redeployment of an Army brigade was an indication the peace process is succeeding and that soon, real peace will reign in the region.

Pangilinan noted that since 2003, no major Army-MILF encounter has been reported due to religious compliance of both sides to the ceasefire agreement. (PNA)

LAP/NYP/EOF

Comments

Comments are closed.