THE Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO), other law enforcement agencies and the Iloilo United Muslims Community, Inc. (IUMCI) signed a covenant against terrorism on Feb. 10, 2017, at the Iloilo Pioneer Masjid (mosque) in Brgy. Magdalo, LaPaz, Iloilo City.
Also part of the covenant are Regional Intelligence Unit-6, RIUD6, 82nd Infantry Battalion, Military Intelligence Group-6, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency-6, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI6), Muslim Religious Leaders, Liga ng mga Barangay (LNB) Iloilo City, and Barangay Officials.
Among those who signed the covenant are Senior Supt. Remus Zacarias Canieso, ICPO regional director; IUMCI president Imam Umar Madrigal; Imams Nasser Mersederio of Jumiato Moalafate Kolobohan, Inc. and Abdul Salam Umpara of San Pedro Muslim Community; Khalid Barodi, San Isidro Muslim Community chairman; PDEA-6 regional director Gil Pabilona; LNB Iloilo City president Reyland Hervias; Lt. Col. Vener Morga, 82IB commander.
The covenant recognizes that the problem on terrorism is a priority of President Duterte.
“It is high time to end the long and troublesome effects of terrorism. It is best to confront and prevent the proliferation of terrorism down to the lowest unit in the society, which is the barangay,” it says.
The groups commit to maintain their support in the fight against terrorism and other forms of lawlessness and to keep Iloilo City peaceful, livable and orderly.
Canieso, on his part, said he involved the Muslim community in the campaign against terrorism, particularly on intelligence information gathering.
“Whatever information we get from them, we will validate for the safety and security of everyone,” Canieso said.
Canieso stressed that “Terrorism has many faces; it has fatal and tremendous effects, and has claimed millions of lives globally in the past years.”
Thus, “Terroristic acts must not happen in Iloilo, we should be on our guard. Let us help each other, so that Iloilo will remain a peaceful and orderly place to live in.
“Walang pinipili ang shrapnels, ang improvised explosive devise (IED), lahat tayo apektado. We do not want these terror acts to happen in Iloilo,” Canieso stressed.
Canieso said the covenant is a message that “terrorists have no place in Iloilo.”
He clarified though that terrorism has nothing to do with one’s religion as religion is about peace, prosperity and understanding.
“However, there are those who use religion to justify their violent acts, which is very wrong,” he said.
He added the involvement of the Muslim community is a start to involve communities in keeping Iloilo City safe for everyone.
“Let us give peace a chance. We do not want the violence happening in other places happen here,” Canieso said.
Morga, on his part, reiterated that terror threats are global, which can be best addressed by a united Armed Forces of the Philippines, PNP and communities.
“Whatever terroristic acts happen in Iloilo will affect the whole nation,” he said.
Morga is hopeful that same covenant can be signed at the regional level.
IUMCI committed to help the police and law enforcement agencies in the efforts of keeping Iloilo City a peaceful place.
IUMCI is the oldest Muslim congregation in the city.
Madrigal, said on his part, understands the goal of ICPO to help keep Iloilo City peaceful, otherwise their peaceful living will be affected, too.
“Everybody must be vigilant na nagapamatyag kita sa paligid, isa na dun kung makita kita na medyo strange, we have to report it to authority,” Madrigal said, who has been living in Iloilo City for 50 years.
Congregation leader, Barodi, in his message, urged his brethren: “Suportahan natin sila…para ito sa ikabubuti ng lahat, ng ating pamilya, ng lungsod ng Iloilo.”
Barodi has been living in the metro for more than 20 years: “Dito na ako nagkaasawa, nagkabahay, nagkaanak. Iba ang Iloilo, ang mga Ilonggo magagaling makipagkaibigan. It is a peaceful place compared to other places in the country,” he said.
“Tulungan natin sila kung may darating para sirain ang pamumuhay natin…’wag natin hayaan na makapasok ang masasamang tao sa Iloilo,” Barodi said.
Meanwhile, Canieso said that while there are no reported threats in the city, the police remain vigilant.