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Task force as tip of spear vs. terrorist groups in Mindanao




THE ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP) activated the new Joint Task Force (JTF) for Peace and Security in Mindanao on June 4 to widen the net against terror groups in the south.

AFP Chief of Staff Cirilito Sobejana said, “The creation of JTF-Mindanao aims to unify the efforts of the two Unified Commands, the Eastern Mindanao Command (EestMinCom) and Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom), to widen its reach in addressing common peace and security problems, most especially in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and its peripheries.”

The JTF-Mindanao was conceptualized as an offshoot of the President’s directive to the AFP during the Command Conference in Cotabato City on May 8, 2021. It shall assist local government units (LGUs) and the Joint Normalization Committee in ensuring the success of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority particularly on the normalization process of former MILF combatants.

The military said it will further develop and implement a contingency plan to defeat armed terrorist groups and other peace spoilers that would pose as a serious threat to the smooth implementation of the Final Peace Agreement and the transition to theBangsamoro Autonomous Region as embodied in the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

Moreover, the joint task force is tasked to synchronize the operations of EastMinCom and WestMinCom in the holistic whole of nation approach to restore peace and order in conflict-affected areas as well as prevent conflicts in vulnerable areas.

This will be done in collaboration and cooperation of field offices of the national government agencies and the LGUs.

Sobejana presided over the activation ceremony held at the General Headquarters Canopy in Camp Aguinaldo.

Present were key officers from the general headquarters and the incoming commander of the JTF-Mindanao, Lieutenant General Jose Faustino Jr.

“In order to lead this unit, we need a very capable, highly competent and dependable leader – a leader who has forged his career under the banner of excellence and selfless service through his exemplary achievements making him truly worthy of being chosen as the Commander of JTF Mindanao,” said Sobejana.

A member of the Philippine Military Academy “Maringal” Class of 1988, Lieutenant General Faustino is the former acting commanding general of the Philippine Army.

He had been designated as battalion and brigade commander in Western Mindanao, particularly in Basilan and Sulu; he also served in Eastern Mindanao as commander of 10th Infantry Division covering Regions 11 and 12, and commander of the EastMinCom securing Regions 10, 11, 12, and 13.

“Rest assured that Lieutenant General Faustino has the AFP’s vote of confidence and we are certain that he would be able to successfully achieve the two main objectives of the creation of this Joint Task Force. This is to establish a conducive environment in our continuing pursuit of lasting peace and the inclusive development for the entire Mindanao region,” the AFP Chief of Staff said.


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