Batanes to Tawi-Tawi
With Julmunir I. Jannaral
IN my previous column I discussed how the Province of Tawi-Tawi that was created by Presidential Decree No. 302 on September 27, 1973 and NOT thru An Act of War. Hence, I called it as the home of the gentle and peaceful people of the South.
In addition, I said that Tawi-Tawi where I stayed for more than a decade of my life is where I actually got my Baccalaureate Degree.
However, last Monday on October 12 this year, Tawi-Tawi particularly the town of Bongao is in the News involving a crime story or as we call in the Media parlance a Police Story. But considering that this kind of situation seldom happened in a peaceful town like Bongao it is safe to declare it as a mere isolated case.
But then no less than Tawi-Tawi Member of Parliament Eddie M. Alih called on every peaceful citizen of Tawi-Tawi to maintain the good atmosphere of peace and order in the province particularly in the capital town of Bongao when he said, “My fellow Tawi-Tawians, let’s maintain the peace we are fortunate to have.”
The announcement of MP Alih is in response to the ambush or shooting incident where the wounded victims are the social workers of the Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Tawi-Tawi Provincial Office.
The victims according to the police blotter are identified as Niezel Ladjauddin Asakil and Kevin Angelo Pon who were on their way home to Bongao after rendering their mandated duties of giving “Ayuda” to the Qualified Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries in the official list of MSSD in Panglima Sugala Municipality.
It can be noted that the 4Ps is a human development measure of the national government that provides conditional Cash Grants to the poorest of the poor, to improve the health, nutrition, and the Education of Children aged 0-18.
Thus, Tawi-Tawi Member of Parliament Eddie M. Alih was furious and strongly condemned the shooting of these two social workers.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the shooting of two MSSD social workers- Niezel Ladjauddin Asakil and Kevin Angelo Pon along the highway of Barangay Lapid-Lapid, Bongao, Tawi-Tawi on October 12, 2020,” MP Alih said.
In like manner the MSSD-BARMM headed by Minister Raisa Jajurie also condemned in the strongest possible terms the extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence against their social workers.
Niezel Ladjauddin Asakil is the 4Ps OIC Provincial Link for Tawi-Tawi, and Kevin Pon, is the 4Ps Municipal Link.
Both Asakil and Pon were wounded after being shot by still unnamed perpetrators. However according to a member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) who requested anonimity while Investigation is still going on as of this writing, the suspects in the Shooting incident are disgruntled residents of Panglima Sugala municipality who were not included as the Recipients of the 4Ps.
Both Asakil and Pon, and other MSSD workers were on their way home to Bongao after the 5-Day 4Ps payout in Panglima Sugala.
As this developed, the MSSD management is ensuring that their wounded workers received proper medication on the bullet wounds they sustained.
A confirmed source from Bongao told Batanes To Tawi-Tawi columnist that both wounded victims were immediately given medical evacuation and are now recuperating in an undisclosed hospital in Zamboanga City.
Be that as it may, I hope the Police Hierarchy under PNP Chief General Camilo Cascolan will order down the line in bringing the suspects in the shooting of MSSD employees to the bar of justice.
That is I am hoping the PNP Chief will give an order to Brig. Gen. Samuel P. Rodriguez, the Regional Director of Police Regional Office in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR) in Camp Gen. Pendatun in Parang, Maguindanao to effect the hunting of the suspects in the vicinity of Panglima Sugala.
Finally the directive will in turn be given to Colonel Bonard D. Briton, the Provincial Director of Tawi-Tawi Provincial Office in Camp Alejandro Suarez in Bongao who will likewise instruct the Bongao Chief of Police to form a crack platoon to hunt the suspects.
If this chain of order from the PNP Chief is carried out down the line, I hope Tawi-Tawi particularly the capital town of Bongao will remain peaceful as the way it used to be and can maintain the status as the home of the gentle and peaceful people of Southernmost part of the Philippines.
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