Three years after the Marawi siege, army, cops now becoming businessmen

THE REGION
By Divina M. Suson
April 1, 2020

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ILIGAN CITY ----- After defeating the terrorists three years ago in Marawi City, soldiers and cops went around the province bringing essentials for the people to survive while fighting another enemy they cannot see.

On Monday (March 30) soldiers of the Army's 103rd Infantry Brigade and cops of Lanao del Sur started going around every town with somebody from the local government unit (LGU) making announcement using megaphone.

In groups, they were on board army and police vehicle, loaded not with guns and bullets but grocery items, not to be given for free but for sale.

"We became 'secutindero' (coined for security and 'tindero' or salesman)," said Col. Jose Maria Cuerpo, commander of the 103rd Brigade.

"This is our way of helping the people in our areas of operation. We have not yet stood up from the siege and here we are, fighting again (againts the virus)," Cuerpo added.

The frontliners during Marawi siege in 2017 are now selling goods to residents through rolling stores.

Cuerpo said this is the army and the police way of helping residents around Lake Lanao to have easy access to buy their necessities because they are having hard time to go to Marawi City where their main market is.

The whole province is on an enhanced community quarantine since March 19 that would make residents difficult to travel especially if they don't have own vehicle.

The provincial government of Lanao del Sur, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Lanao Chamber of Commerce came up with the idea of rolling stores to avoid the tendency of over pricing in temporary markets (talipapa).

The three agencies joint together in pooling the grocery items to be sold based on the DTI prices.

These items include rice, sardines, noodles and coffee.

Using the army and police vehicles, the men in uniform provide manpower and security.

Three groups from the police and another three from army will bring the rolling store to three to four municipalities from 7am to 6pm.

Col. Madzgani Mukaram, chief of Lanao del Sur police, said it is satisfying to help the people in times like this fighting the unseen enemies.

"Sa ganitong klaseng giyera, kung hindi mag-cooperate ang publiko, kung hindi natin sila tutulungan, hindi lang ang mga sibilyan ang talo sa giyera laban sa COVID-19 kundi pati rin kaming mga pulis at mga sundalo na nasa frontline," Mukaram said.

(In this kind of war, if the public will not cooperate, if we will not help them, it is not only the civilians who may loss in the battle against COVID-19 but also us, police and army who are in the frontline.)

Mukaram said cops who went around with the rolling stores will also comply their duty at the checkpoints.

"It is tiring but we are happy to serve. It's fulfilling serving the people," Mukaram said.


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