Camp Navarro, Calarian, Zamboanga City – November 15, 2022

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The National Task Force for the Disbandment of Private Armed Groups (NTF-DPAGs) held an orientation program intended for newly-elected local chief executives in Region IX. The activity was held at Garden Orchid Hotel, Governor Camins Avenue, this city, on Tuesday, November 15, 2022.

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This was the first leg of the Capacity Development and Awareness Building for the newly elected local government officials in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and its adjacent Regions 9-12. The activity aimed to intensify the awareness and participation of the newly-elected government officials in the efforts to disband the private armed groups in order to achieve a just and lasting peace in Mindanao.

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The local chief executives and Sangguniang Bayan members of the cities and municipalities in Region IX led by Zamboanga City Mayor John Dalipe attended the orientation program. Zamboanga Del Norte Governor Rosalina Jalosjos also graced the activity with her presence. Accordingly, same kind of endeavour will be conducted soon in the BARMM area for the LGUs of said region.

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Also in attendance were the representatives from the security agencies. Police Brig. Gen. Neil Alinsangan led the team from the Philippine National Police and WestMinCom’s Assistant Chief of Unified Command Staff for Reservist and Retiree Affairs Cdr. Edwin Ello, together with Lt. Col. Abdurasad Sirajan, Chief, Command Public Information Office; the triad staff; Command Judge Advocate Cpt. Regie Bangayan; and selected non-commissioned officers represented the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

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Highlights of the activity were the briefings on the different lines of efforts of the NTF-DPAGS presented by the following: Ms. Sheila Mae Del Rosario of the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity; Police Col. Richard Verceles, Chief Operations Division, Area Police Command, Western Mindanao; Mr. Philip Vincent Alegre of the National Security Council; and the representatives from the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, Regional Intelligence Division of the PNP Regional Office IX, and Department of Interior and Local Government.

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Discussed during the activity were the Threat Assessment, Local Threat Situation, Updates on the Normalization Process and other related topics, Community Engagement and Participation, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, and Updates on the National Action Plans (NAPs) to Prevent and Counter Violent Extremism (PCVE).

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“While we, in the security sector, are exerting our best efforts to address the security concerns, we urge for the continued support of the local government units to the campaign to disband the existing private armed groups in our area of operation. Rest assured that the Western Mindanao Command will continue to implement what we should implement to sustain the peace in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and its adjacent regions,” Marine Brig. Gen. Arturo Rojas, Acting Commander of the Western Mindanao Command, stated.

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The disbandment of private armed groups is one of the efforts under the Comprehensive Agreement in the Bangsamoro (CAB) that was signed by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014.

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