Divina M. Suson
MARAWI CITY — The Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade in Marawi City gives plaque of appreciation on Wednesday morning, April 20, to stakeholders who they have considered part of their accomplishments in the past years.
BGen. Jose Maria Cuerpo, commander of 103rd Infantry Brigade, said the brigade was celebrating its 48th anniversary on April 1 and part of the celebration is recognizing its partners in the community.
“To respect the health protocols, we scheduled giving of recognition to stakeholders by batch, kasi nasa pandemya pa rin tayo,” Cuerpo said.
The brigade had also donned rank pin to a newly-promoted personnel and welcomed the three newly-assigned soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division.
Cuerpo said that with the help of different stakeholders, the brigade received a Commanding General of the Philippine Army (CGPA) streamer from the commander, LtGen. Romeo Brawner, Jr. on March 22 during the anniversary of the Philippine Army.
“Ito ang aming pasasalamat sa inyo. Simple but heartily shared,” Cuepo said.
Cuerpo explained that CGPA is given to an Army unit that whose accomplishments gave significance to the entire Philippine Army.
In March 1, the joint forces of the 103rd Brigade encountered around 20 armed men in Maguing town, Lanao del Sur believed to be members of the local Dawlah Islamiya-ISIS Maute group (DI-MG).
The encounter led to the confiscation of various high-powered firearms, ammunitions, personal belongings, subversive documents and 8.4 kilos of shabu with estimated market value of P54 million from the house reportedly owned by certain Yasser Samporna.
Eight members from the armed group were killed in the firefight.
MGen. Gene Ponio, commander of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, said had those firearms not discovered, it would be used by politicians or their supporters for the incoming elections and the shabu would be sold to finance election campaign.
Manageable security situation
In an interview on Wednesday, Cuerpo said security situation in Lanao del Sur province and Marawi City is normal and they have not seen potential violence to happen during the election.
“Kung merong mangyayari during the election day, manageable lang. I don’t think we need additional troops pero sabi ni Com1 (MGen. Ponio), magpapadala ng isang kumpanya as additional force dito,” Cuerpo said.
The Army is particularly monitoring the Pualas, Bayang and Binidayan towns because of political rivaly, Maguing because of the recent encounter, Tubaran because this is where Owayda Benito Marohombsar or Abu Dar was killed in a military operation. Marohombsar became the ’emir’ (leader) of DI-MG after the Marawi siege in 2017.
“We are also monitoring the town of Butig. Ij is not contested area as far as election is concerned, but the history, this is where the Maute group came from,” Cuerpo said.
The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) declared Malabang and Tubaran under their control and supervision according to Atty. Mohaimen Ali, election officer of Tubaran because of the election rivalry.