Camp Siongco, Maguindanao—The commanding general of the 6th Infantry Division has declared this military camp as a zone free of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), even as transient and stationary soldiers have continued to post zero cases of the dreaded pandemic malady.
Major General Diosdado Carreon, 6th ID chief, officially welcomed participants from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) to a two-day Joint-Simulation Exercises and Executive Course on Incident Command System (ICS) here over the weekend.
Carreon said Camp Siongco has remained COVID-19-free, as “still, we have a zero case of COVID here. We welcome you here (at Kampilan Hall of Officers’ Club). Please bear with us, work on, and help us enrich whatever we have here.”
Carlito Galvez, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, said the joint simulation exercise and executive course will enhance solidarity in parties of erstwhile conflict, for the common quest and aspirations for just and lasting peace.
Carreon said amid COVID-19, the camp offers an ideal alternative to hotels as venue for the simulation exercises and lecture course to keep the participants protected from risks of infection.
The camp, which also runs its own hospital, has since been named in honor of Brig Gen Gonzalo F Siongco, who died in a helicopter crash on a flight to Marawi City in 1974.
The ICS course was steered by the Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidents of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (READi-BARMM) for 10 participating battalion and brigade commanders under the 6ID jurisdiction, and 10 Task Force Central and base commanders of the BIAF of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
For his part, BARMM Executive Secretary Abdulraof Macacua said it delighted the MILF leadership under Chief Minister Ahod Al Hadj Balawag Ebrahim to be sending task-force and base commanders to the joint simulation exercises in sheer working cooperation for peace and learning, despite past adversity, with their AFP counterparts.
The joint exercises dubbed “Sindaw Kalilintad” (Torch of Peace), was such an ideal venue for building mutual cooperation, he said.
Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, BARMM’s Minister of the Interior and Local Governments, said: “This (joint exercises and executive course) will enhance the participants’ knowledge and improve their cooperation in responding to disasters and managing planned events.”
Sinarimbo, who concurrently heads READi-BARMM said: “We are holding a Joint Simulation Exercise and Executive Course on ICS for the Commanders of the MILF and the Officers of the 6 ID of the Armed Forces of the Philippines at Camp Siongco, Awang Maguindanao.”
READi-BARMM has commissioned for the two-day joint exercises four trainer-cadres on disaster risk-reduction management (DRRM), including Lita Enok, a US-trained disaster-risk manager and retired regional head of the Office of Civil Defense.
Evelyn Estorquia, READi-BARMM administrative head, said throughout the two-day activity, the ICS Joint-Simulation and Course has been backed by a team of physicians, health workers and medics who initially conducted COVID-19 rapid testing on and certified test-results of blood samples from the participants.
“In case anyone tests positive, there’s a vehicle or two designated to rush patients to the hospital,” said Myrna Jo Henry, supervising disaster incident coordinating officer of READi-BARMM.
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