Recognizing the critical role of the barangay officials in peace, order and public safety, the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC-9) in Zamboanga Peninsula chaired by Mayor Beng Climaco has passed a resolution, enjoining all Punong Barangays in the region to submit quarterly a list of foreigners and non-residents in their barangays.
The resolution was patterned after a similar measure adopted by Provincial Government of Sarangani.
The RPOC-9 believed that the presence of foreign nationals and overstaying aliens in the barangays and their possible participation in fighting alongside terror group that have entered the country is one of the major issues and concerns in the region.
The list of foreigners including photocopy of their passports will be submitted quarterly to the police.
This, as the Police Regional Office 9 reported that Zamboanga Peninsula and other areas under its jurisdiction are confronted with four threat groups, namely; the Abu Sayyaf Group with ISIS sympathizers, Communist Terror Group, rouge MNLF/MILF members, criminal gangs and other lawless elements.
Notwithstanding, the police stressed that the implementation of martial law in Mindanao and the relentless offensives against the pro-ISIS groups to include the ASG have weaken the terrorists capability to retaliate against the government forces.
It was also reported during the first quarterly RPOC-9 meeting Monday that more than 200 ASG members have already surrendered to the military following sustained surgical military operations in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi (BASULTA) areas since last year.
Since July 2016 to the present, government efforts led to the neutralization or arrest of 78 ASG members (74 arrested and 4 killed), who were facing various cases from kidnapping to murder.
Although there has been no kidnapping incident since late last year, the police said the threats of kidnapping and bombing remain to be their primary concern.
The PRO-9 concluded that murder cases are its biggest concern made worse by the presence of gun for hire and private army groups. In the war on drugs, it leads Mindanao in the arrest of drug pushers, especially high value targets, and the Abu Sayyaf and its affiliate groups are still serious threats to the region’s peace and order.-(Vic Larato)