Photo courtesy of PIO

The Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) has allayed fears of escalated conflict in Palawan due to recent developments in the West Philippine Sea and expressed concern about rumors spreading on social media.

Governor Dennis Socrates convened the peace council on Thursday, June 27, to discuss the situation and arrived at a resolution to issue an official statement countering the false information primarily circulating on social media.

“Basically, ang mensahe ay huwag mangamba. Do not be afraid, ‘yan ang mensahe ng PPOC sa sambayanang Palaweño,” he said.

He emphasized that the provincial government and PPOC are following the directives set by President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.

“Ang sabi ni Pangulong Bongbong Marcos, peace is our drumbeat. Hindi tayo makikipag-giyera. Apparently, ang order sa ating kasundaluhan ay walang gagamit ng armas, walang gagamit ng dahas. At, puwede silang lumaban lamang pag threatened ang personal physical integrity nila. In other words, malabo ang scenario na magkagiyera… at kung magkagamitan man ng dahas, it will be at sea,” Socrates explained.

During the meeting, the Western Command (Wescom) and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) District Palawan provided a situational briefing on the WPS.

The Council also agreed to establish an office and form a task force with a spokesperson who can address public inquiries regarding the situation in the disputed waters.

Over 40 council members attended the meeting, including Board Member Roseller Pineda, Chairman of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s committee on human rights, public order, and security, Vice Chairman Ferdinand Zaballa, committee members Juan Antonio Alvarez and Ryan Maminta. Board Member Rafael Ortega, Jr. participated via Zoom.