Army cites gains vs illegal drugs in Mindanao
CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao (PNA) — Military authorities here said Friday that its campaign against illegal drugs in Mindanao, in support to the Philippine National Police (PNP), has been gaining ground.
Col. Markton Abo, speaking for the Sixth Infantry Division, reiterated the directive of Maj. Gen. Carlito Galvez that there should be no let up in the drive against suspected drug lords or drug protectors in Maguindanao, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and part of Lanao del Sur, the areas of operation of the Kampilan division.
Abo said that, since July 1 last year, the military has been able to confiscate more than 220 assorted high powered firearms that included cal. 50 and cal. 60 machine guns, assault rifles, mortar rounds and mortar launchers and thousands of ammunition in anti-drug operations.
Abo cited the military operations against Mayor Montasir Sabal of Talitay, Maguindanao and his brother Abdulwahab, the town's vice mayor, suspected to be involved in illegal drug operations.
The siblings were included in President Duterte's list of "narco-politicians" although they vehemently denied involvement in illegal activities.
Military led operations also resulted in the recovery of assorted firearms in Midsayap, North Cotabato and Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, but most of the suspected drug lords remained at large.
Abo stressed the Army's 601st Infantry Brigade in Tacurong City, 602nd Infantry Brigade in North Cotabato, 603rd Infantry Brigade in Maguindanao and the Philippine Marines in Sultan Kudarat are prepared to intensify their drive against illegal drugs in an effort to save the future of the younger generation.
Abo noted that there are at least three concerns that have kept the 6th ID officials busy. These include antiillegal drug operation, anti-terrorist operation and civic-military operation.
Maguindanao hosts the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters that occasionally disrupt peace and order by launching guerilla attacks against government forces, suspected drug lords and other lawless elements.
Galvez has sought the cooperation of local government officials in the campaign against illegal drugs.
He told reporters that while the Army was busy helping in President Duterte's all-out war against illegal drugs, it continues to build strong civil-military partnership and peace advocacy.