MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine National Police is gearing up to help the government in easing the tension in southernmost tip of Western Mindanao due to the Sabah crisis.
Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr., the PNP chief, said that while they are investigating the intelligence lapses that failed to prevent the Tausugs from sailing to Sabah, the police are also focusing on the security in the region in view of the exodus of Filipinos from north Borneo.
“Hindi pa natin natututukan nang husto itong aspetong ito . . . although at this point gusto natin linawin na ang priority ay paano natin mai-ease yung tension at . . . kung paano kami makakatulong . . . para na alleviate yung problem na maaaring maidulot nito sa ibang mga kababayan natin,” Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. said.
(We can’t focus on that aspect now…although at this point we want to make clear that the priority is to ease the tension and how we can help people in the region who will be affected by the Sabah crisis.)
But the investigation on the matter, he said, will identify specific details on how the standoff in Lahad Datu, Sabah began, who are people involved, among other information.
Meanwhile, Cerbo said the PNP is continuously providing security in the southernmost tip of Mindanao as the government intensifies its efforts to help Filipinos returning from Sabah.
Among others, Cerbo said, the PNP is securing centers set up by the Department of Social Welfare and Development for the evacuees.
Furthermore, Cerbo said the National Food Authority has pledged to provide sacks of rice that will then be secured by police units as to make sure that there wouldn’t be delays in its delivery to affected areas.
Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II earlier met with Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Trade and Industry Undersecretary Zeny Maglaya, Maritime Industry Authority Nic Conti and National Food Authority Administrator Orlan Calayag to coordinate government efforts in ensuring the welfare of evacuees in the Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
As of Tuesday, Roxas said there had been 1,500 evacuees from Sabah, most of which were from Taganak Island and Bongao in Tawi-Tawi, and Jolo in Sulu.