PROVINCIAL CAPITOL, Marawi City – Officials of the CMO Joint Task Group Tabang (JTG Tabang) met the local leaders of Balo-i town, LDS for the first time, Friday, July 22.
The meeting was held to discuss the needs of the evacuees and address them immediately while waiting for the go signal for the safe return to their homes.
Present during the meeting are the barangay chairmen and municipal officials headed by Mayor Madid Elias Ali.
“The armed forces only want us to be safe that’s why they keep on reminding us to stay and wait until such time that our houses are totally cleared and safe for occupancy,” said the leaders.
“And as leaders who are concerned to our constituents, we unitedly support the armed forces to adhere to what is good for our people. We will not allow our constituents to join any protest or mobilization and be used for any political agenda or personal interest,” adds the local officials.
The effort was made to address the group that allures the evacuees to forcibly return home in protest, despite government’s stern security warning as the conflict against terrorist Maute is not yet over.
It is also feared that some improvised explosive devices (IEDs), booby traps, unexploded munitions, and other war materials are feared to be abandoned in various houses during their retreat.
It can be remembered that incident of burning houses were reported in the past week despite absence of inhabitants, which is believed to be due to the abandoned war materials.
This incidence caused for the armed forces and the local government to restrict the residents from going home even their houses were initially marked “cleared” by the local police.
Colonel Thomas Sedano Jr, commander of the CMO Joint Task Group “Tabang” said that he is delighted with the overwhelming support vowed by the local leaders
“I would like to personally extend my sincere appreciation for understanding our predicament in restricting our people to go home at this stage,” says Colonel Sedano
“We really have to ensure that no more will be harmed, and that can only be achieved if we join our hands together as this is for the betterment and safety of our people,” Colonel Sedano added.
The joint activity of the Balo-i officials and JTG Tabang is set to to benefit the IDPs both the home based IDPs in the evacuation centers and those in.
Moreover, JTG Tabang troopers also conducted film showing focusing on religious violent extremism to make our people aware of the real intent of the local and foreign terrorists organization.
The troops also distributed leaflets and other reading materials to reinforce the information provided by the video materials presented to them.