Officials mum on Khilafah threat group
By JOHN RIZLE L. SALIGUMBA
DAVAO CITY – A briefing on Wednesday by Cabinet secretaries with Davao region’s governors and commanders of the military and police left more questions to media on the “emerging threat groups” in Mindanao.
Defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Interior and Local Government secretary Mar Roxas and Executive Secretary and Anti-Terrorism Council chair Paquito Ochoa Jr and Center for Transnational Crime director Felizardo Serapio Jr. met Governors Rodolfo del Rosario (Davao del Norte) and Corazon Malanyaon (Davao Oriental) at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Eastern Mindanao Command Headquarters in Panacan.
Not present in the briefing were Governor Claude Bautista (Davao del Sur) and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who sent as his representative Davao City Public Safety Center Command Chief Francisco Villaroman.
Details of the meeting were kept from reporters who waited hours at the Eastmincom headquarters for a media brief.
Only Governor del Rosario and Davao City police chief Ronald dela Rosa talked with the media hours later.
Dela Rosa said information on the said threat groups identified was “classified,” but he said these groups have targeted Davao for its operations to create public attention.
“Sinasabi kanina sa briefing na kung doon nila gawin yung pambobomba sa lugar nila hindi maka-create ng pansin. Pero kung dito sa Davao,(The briefing said if these groups did the bombings at their place, no one would have noticed. But if they do it here in Davao), it will create national and international media attention,” said dela Rosa.
“Bantay tayo dito sa Davao (let’s be vigilant in Davao),” the police chief added.
In an earlier report, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin identified a new group called Khilafah Islamic Movement (KIM), an umbrella group of rogue members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the BIFM
(Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement) who want to sabotage peace talks between the MILF and the government.
But the MILF has not heard of such group.
Gov. Del Rosario said that KIM was mentioned among other groups but said he is not “privy” to such information.
“They are just coming up with some reports of the elements that are operating around Mindanao that have come out as a result of their intelligence,” he said.
Del Rosario said no information was shared during the meeting as to who was behind the bombings that hit Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato,Midsayap and recently, Kabacan.
“In fact there are several elements possibly involved. There is no clear indication who-is-doing-what. It is one way to warn us that something like this is happening around Mindanao,” he said.
The governor said he is concerned of the province’s hosting of the Mindanao sports event Batang Pinoy 2013 first leg in Tagum City this coming August 27 to 31.
“The participants will be from different parts of Mindanao,” he said. (John Rizle L. Saligumba/davaotoday.com)