Thursday, November 27, 2008

Troops Put Up Checkpoints, Secure Highway From Lawless Groups In Mindanao

Government soldiers inspect vehicles passing in front of the Army's 104th Infantry Brigade in Iligan City in the southern Philippines.

ILIGAN CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 27, 2008) – Army soldiers have put up checkpoints on a highway connecting the cities of Iligan and Marawi as part a security measure aimed at securing the safety of motorists and travelers from lawless groups.

Army Col. Benito de Leon, commander of the 104th Infantry Brigade, said villagers have sought the help of authorities and urged the military and police to put up roadblocks and checkpoints after the presence of gunmen were reported along the stretch of the highway.

“These checkpoints would curb those who plan to impersonate persons in authority, and allow the military to monitor the passage of security forces. Certain individuals were also reported carrying firearms without authority and even on board government vehicles or ambulances, hence the checkpoints,” De Leon said.

The checkpoints, he said, were intended to complement police enforcement activities and contribute to peace and order in the two areas.

De Leon assured the public that soldiers manning the checkpoints would not violate rights of civilians. He advised drivers of vehicle approaching a checkpoint to slow down and prepare to stop if signaled; dim their lights; open their windows; and turn on their cabin lights.

“Rest assured that we will establish any security arrangement allowed by our laws and regulations, including the conduct of checkpoints, if only to protect the people we are duty-bound to serve,” De Leon said. (With a report from Merlyn Manos)

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