The Philippine National Police in Puerto Princesa City is conducting an investigation on the presence of members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the city who arrived two weeks ago and set camp at Inagawan Sub Colony.
Police authorities still cannot determine the purpose of MNLF’s camp in the area, which is within the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Corrections.
During the meeting of the City Peace and Order Council Meeting today, April 20, Deputy City Director for Administration Police Superintendent Ronie Bacuel said that there were 11 persons arrested because of their alleged involvement by performing errands for the MNLF. After a series of interrogations, they were immediately released for lack of probable evidence to press charges against them.
City Mayor Lucilo Bayron instructed the City Police Office to establish presence near the vicinity of the MNLF’s camp. The City Police will set up a Community Police Precinct in the said area.
At around 10 o’clock in the morning, April 20, the Palawan News Team went to Inagawan Sub-Colony to witness the scheduled program of MNLF. However, the Philippine Marines restricted media presence to the area.
Palawan News, however, had an opportunity to interview one MNLF member, Arsad Samomo Samburong. Samburong, who hails from Pangutaran, Sulu, was outside the camp but within the vicinity when the team interviewed him.
Samburong said that around 70 MNLF members from Sulu (Pangutaran and Jolo) and Tawi-Tawi are now in Palawan. He said that they were just instructed by MNLF Chairman of Global Roving Diplomacy and Peace Dr. Samsula J. Adju to come to Palawan. However, he refused to provide details who facilitated their travel to the province.
“Dito sa Puerto, walang permanent na ano (tirahan), kasi kumbaga may mga tuluyan lang na kamag-anak.” he said.
Samburong insisted that their presence is not to create fear but to promote peace as they’re from conflict-ridden communities. “Ayaw na naming maranasan ang anumang uri ng kaguluhan. Galing na kami diyan,” he added.
In an exclusive phone interview of Palawan News to Dr. Adju, he confirmed that after some restrictions from the Armed Forces, they were given a chance at around 4:00 o’clock today to proceed with their scheduled program inside their camp in Inagawan Sub Colony. The program was witnessed by PNP, AFP and Bureau of Corrections personnel.
Dr. Adju is a member of the Bangsamoro National People’s Parliament, a former Chancellor of Mindanao State University and currently chair of the MNLF Sulu Peace Task Force.
The program in the camp tackled the latest consensus from the Tripartite Meeting of Philippine Government, MNLF and Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The establishment of the Bangsamoro Development Assistance Fund (BDAF) Project in the four-hectare ‘MNLF community’ in Inagawan-Sub Colony was also discussed.
“Ang BDAF, inaayos pa lang [ang] structure, we will also determine the source of funds, hopefully, by June of this year, masisimulan na natin mga livelihood projects natin dito,” Dr. Adju said.
City authorities are also investigating the legality of the four-hectare land being occupied by the group. According to Dr. Adju they are still applying for land title.
This morning, a closed door meeting was held by the Provincial Peace and Order Council, the outcome of which was not yet disclosed to the media.