One and a half month after the fall of the last Abu Sayyaf straggler in Bohol, the national police must have felt that the vigilant province does deserve due recognition.
This time, the Camp Crame itself lauded the Bohol capitol for its strategies effectively mobilizing the communities and helping ultimately crush terrorism right in its attempt.
“The Philippine National Police (PNP) highly commends and appreciates the initiative of the Bohol Provincial Government in addressing the incident,” said PNP National Headquarters Director for Operations Camilo Pancratius Cascolan.
The Camp Crame lauded the province in a letter last week to Gov. Edgar Chatto and signed by the chief of the PNP Directorate for Operations.
The country’s highest police command acknowledged Bohol’s template to prevent similar terrorism incidents in other areas while the Marawi crisis yet seems to have no sight of near end.
Outsiders have realized that Boholanos are too jealous of the gains of their efforts so that they are treasuring their peace and development with constant vigilance.
To them, Bohol is safe and will remain to be precisely because its people and leaders did prove in the recent terrorist try that they could not compromise the peace and development of their province.
Chatto has not failed to remind everyone that, further, constant vigilance is the price of moving around freely, without fear.
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte cited during the Philippine Navy anniversary celebration in Davao City earlier last month the “Bohol success” against the threat of terrorism.
The organizers and delegates lauded Bohol for its successful, “amazing” hosting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in mid-April even if the threat was then yet to be suppressed.
NO HITCH DESPITE THREAT
Also in a letter last week, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Sec. Ramon Lopez himself recounted admirably Bohol’s ASEAN Meeting handling in the wake then of the terrorist attempt.
The meeting of the ASEAN trade, commerce and industry ministers, secretaries and senior officials had “proceeded without a hitch,” he said.
The secretary said the delegates’ “short but memorable stay in Bohol gave the Philippines a unique opportunity to showcase the beauty of our countryside and the warmth, hospitality of our people to our ASEAN counterparts.”
It was “an experience which I am sure” the delegates from the 10 ASEAN member-countries “will cherish and share with their respective peoples,” Lopez told Chatto.
“Everyone in the ASEAN Meeting left with pleasant memories, attesting to your able leadership and professional management,” the top Philippine trade official further wrote to the governor.
Having proven unto themselves that Bohol is safest, the ASEAN delegates love to come again not on official business but along with their families for leisure and pleasure.
Increasing arrivals of foreign and domestic tourists, visitors and guests, including participants to important conferences and major assemblies, have been observed.
New investors have gone keener on establishing businesses or doing projects while institutional program supporters have stronger intent to extend or expand partnerships.
Bohol has become a destination that is more secured and assuring for visitors and investors.
With these developments and more, Boholanos know they must be—by their vigilance—the very vanguards of the fruits of their labors, the governor said.
CAMP CRAME COMMITS SUPPORT
Thru its operations chief, the Camp Crame committed to the governor “should you (Chatto) need the support of the PNP in any of your activities against terrorism, criminality and even illegal drugs.”
Chatto reiterated that “allowing fear to reign in the thought only provides a fertile ground for terrorism to flourish and so we keep calm yet always alert.”
The province has strengthened its Barangay Intelligence Network (BIN) and Countryside Development Program – Purok Power Movement (CDP-PPM).
Also an initiative of the province, theCDP-PPM is an edge-cutting peace-development initiative delivering programs, projects and services to the constituent doorstep.
At the same time, it capacitates the puroks as an alert source of information during emergencies, against threat of terrorism, insurgency and criminality, including illegal drug activities.
The province itself recognized in formal ceremonies two weeks ago the accomplishments of the law enforcers, civil society and civilian authorities in the anti-terrorism campaign.
Further, the Camp Crame official said to the governor, “The PNP acknowledges that without your support to the territorial police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the situation would have worsened and more lives and properties would have been lost.”
Cooperation among stakeholders has since gone tighter as they count themselves in the overwhelming response to the governor’s call to everyone to stay calm yet alert.
People quickly report to authorities any sighting of suspicious group or individual, especially if armed, or unusual movement of strangers.
Bohol’s initiative is a two-edge sword, Chatto said, because the penetrating vigilance is not just against terror threats, including insurgency, but also illegal drug activity and other forms of criminality.
Bohol’s Community-Based Rehabilitation Program Without Walls (CBRP-WoW) has gained momentum until a community starting right from the affected homes is cleared of drug.
A home is given a “seal of good housekeeping” to indicate it is “illegal drug-free” after a process of interventions, monitoring and validation.
All these have been aggressively pursued while the police and other law enforcement agencies keep intensifying, without let-up, their operations in line with the national war on drug.
Chato has been loud and clear in declaring and reiterating, “Bohol welcomes turista; bawal and mga terorista at durogista!”
BOHOL AWAITS YOU
After its own experience—and in the wake of the Marawi siege, Bohol continues to welcome visitors under a very normal condition.
Bohol is part of the Visayas area which is far from Mindanao region where Marawi City is located.
Bohol is not in any way directly connected—by air, sea or land transport—from Marawi and, thus, assured of being not affected by the peace and order problem in Mindanao.
One “best proof” of the assurance was the aggressive launching just last June 23 of the now daily Philippine Airlines (PAL) Korea-Bohol-Cebu roundtrip.(Ven rebo Arigo)