MANILA, Philippines – Preparations are underway to ensure the safety of President Benigno Aquino III when he visits the province of Maguindanao, which is located near the headquarters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said there are enough government troops dedicated for the security of the commander-in-chief.
"We guarantee the safety of the President. Preparations are underway for the safety and protection of the President," AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos said on Thursday.
The President is scheduled to visit the Bangsamoro Leadership Management Institute (BLMI) in Simuay, Sultan Kudarat on Monday
The BLMI is approximately 3 to 4 kilometers away from the MILF’s main camp in Camp Darapanan.
Col. Dickson Hermoso, spokesman of the Army's 6th Infantry Division, said the division will be augmented by the Presidential Security Group and the Philippine National Police to provide security, but he declined to say the number of troops that will be deployed.
"We in the 6th ID fully commit our forces for the security of the commander-in-chief...This (visit) is for peace," said Hermoso.
A military official, meanwhile, said MILF rebels will also help in ensuring security during the event.
"The MILF will help because this is their area, also these projects, socio-economic projects are for them," the source said.
MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar also expressed confidence that no untoward incident will occur during the President's visit, saying that the visit will boost the peace talks between the MILF and government.
"That's part of the agreement - launching of the program. He is visiting since this (program) is important to him, this is in line with the peace process," he said.