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Undersecretary Ano was awarded with a certificate of commendation by the members of the RPOC IX for his meritorious service in liberating Marawi City. (LEFT: Regional Director Paisal Abutazil, PCSupt. Billy Beltran, Zamboanga City Mayor& Chairperson Maria Isabelle Climaco.

Exactly 15 days after his retirement, the newly appointed Department of the Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Eduardo Ano graced the 4th Regular Quarterly Meeting of Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) IX at Lantaka Hotel, Zamboanga City today.

In his message, the undersecretary highlighted the importance of cooperation between the military, police, various local government units and the community in achieving peace and order in the country.

“With your help… together we will eventually see the fall of terrorist armed groups (in our country),” Ano said.

The undersecretary also vowed that there will not be a repeat of the Marawi siege. The five-month long battle which started on May 23, has claimed the lives of 165 members of the police and military and wounded 1,776 others. About 47 civilians perished in the running gun battles and the toll could be higher with the recovery of more human remains in the area once held by the terrorists. Authorities in charge of the cleaning up operations in the once-besieged city were able to rescue about 1,777 individuals who had been trapped in the battle zones.

Cited as “the most violent threat of violent terrorism” in Southeast Asia, the Battle of Marawi City was made possible through the pouring in of foreign funds amounting to $1.5 million and inflow of foreign combatants.

Though the siege was officially declared ‘over’ on the 23rd of October, stragglers from the militant groups still fought it out with the military.

The militant group led by the late Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute brothers aimed to create an Islamic caliphate in Mindanao.

“We will never allow any Marawi incident to happen, ever,” Ano added.

The 4th RPOC IX Meeting is a gathering of various local government units, members of the police and military armed forces and civil society groups to discuss various issues of peace and order in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

Present in the meeting were Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco (Chairperson of the RPOC IX), DILG Regional Director Paisal Abutazil; PNP-PRO9 Regional Director Billy Beltran; 1st Infantry Tabak Division Commander BGen. Roseller Murillo; Wesmincom Commander Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr.; Zamboanga del Sur Governor Antonio Cerilles and other various representatives of the regional offices of National Government Agencies.

Undersecretary Ano, together with BGen. Roseller Murillo, PCSupt. Billy Beltran, and Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., were awarded Certificates of Commendation by the members of RPOC IX for their selfless dedication and meritorious service which resulted to the recent liberation of Marawi City. ###