Curfew to be imposed inside ARMM compound

January 20, 2012 11:39 pm 

COTABATO CITY, Jan. 20 – To ensure the security of government workers and government installations, the Cotabato City police and the Philippine Marines will impose starting on Monday a curfew inside the 32-hectare operations center of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

This is due to mounting threats of bombing and high profile crimes that have been happening in the city.

Lawyer Anwar Malang, ARMM executive secretary, said acting Regional Governor Mujib Hataman has ordered the implementation of the curfew as needed.

On Thursday, a fragmentation grenade went off in between ARMM government offices amid heavy security within the compound. Nobody was hurt in the incident but it caused panic among government workers and people transacting business inside the government center.

Prior to Thursday's blast, there were previous blasts that occurred inside the ARMM compound, including several improvised explosive devices composed of 81-mm mortars and battery operated explosive devices.

Army and police bomb experts defused some of the explosives but others went off.

If bombs could not be sneaked into the compound by lawless elements, they were left and set off just outside the well-fenced government center.

Malang said Hataman has also ordered all chiefs of support offices and regional secretaries of different line agencies under the Office of the Regional Governor to devise an identification system for their respective personnel organizations to prevent any undue intrusion into the ARMM compound of unauthorized and identified people.

According to Malang, a system is being developed to ensure that only legitimate government workers and clients enter the compound.

The curfew will commence at about 8 p.m. until 5 a.m.

"We are establishing a system that would not deprive joggers and sports enthusiasts from coming to do their exercises inside the regional compound,” Malang said.

ARMM police regional director Chief Supt. Bienvenido Latag said a platoon-size contingent of battle-ready policemen from Camp S.K. Pendatun in Parang, Maguindanao has been deployed at the area to help the office of Hataman impose a curfew meant to ensure the safety of employees of different offices in the compound.

Cotabato City, along with Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat provinces are still under state of emergency since the Nov. 23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre that killed over 50 people. (PNA)

LAP/LAM/NYP/EOF

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