COTABATO CITY—Following the terrorist-hunting operations in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25 this year, local soldiers and cops have embarked on joint undertakings ranging from social and sports activities to community-building projects to restore coordination and camaraderie.
Reinforcing the local police-military cordiality-building thrust is the provincial government of Maguindanao through Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, who initiated a tripartite agreement enlisting the military and police forces in addressing the vestiges of man-made and natural calamities in the province.
The agreement was forged with Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, head of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, and Chief Supt. Ronald Estilles, police director for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, in a ceremony in Buluan town.
The main headquarters of the ARMM police office and the 6th Infantry Division are based in Maguindanao.
In the Senate and House hearings on the Mamasapano incident, top officials of the PNP Special Action Force blamed the Army forces under the 6th Infantry Division for not backing up the police commandos with mortar shells at the height of the fighting.
Pangilinan, in his testimonies at the congressional probes, admitted having not heeded SAF request for military mortar shelling because doing it without specific given location coordinates could either harm the police commandos or innocent civilian residents.
Since the forging of the tripartite agreement, workforces of the provincial government, the ARMM police and 6th Infantry Division have already implemented and completed several agriculture and infrastructure projects worth several millions of pesos.
In barangay Tukanalipao, the scene of the Mamasapano encounter, a steel bridge replacing a makeshift foot bridge, a mosque, a concrete access road, five school buildings and a covered court have been completed, about P80 million from the ARMM and provincial governments. The military provided the labor works for free.
In the four other towns of Maguindanao including Rajah Buayan, S. K. Pendatun and Datu Unsay, the joint civilian-military-police program have recently completed and inaugurated four public school edifices and two madrasah (Arabic school) buildings that were rehabilitated from states of wreckage in past skirmishes between government and rebel forces.
The 6th Infantry Division leadership is also sponsoring an open golf tournament for golfers in the police, military and civilian sectors this weekend.