By Aaron Recuenco
The military has maintained enough forces in Pigkawayan and nearby towns in North Cotabato amid the alleged threat by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF) to come back and launch more damaging attacks.
Capt. Nap Alcarioto, spokesman of the 602nd Brigade, said army personnel also intensified their intelligence-gathering to ensure that BIFF movements are monitored all the time.
“They are threatening the local residents that they would come back, and that the second attack would be worse than the first one,” said Alcarioto.
It was learned that the military has maintained the presence of a sizable force in Pigkawayan and nearby areas after BIFF fighters left the school it occupied more than 10 hours since they attacked a barangay security office and a military detachment.
Six BIFF fighters, a militiaman and a civilian farm owner died as a result of the attack.
Aside from military forces, policemen were also sent to help the military in the conduct of checkpoints and investigation.
Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos, spokesman of the Philippine National Police (PNP), earlier disclosed that police commanders in Central Mindanao and nearby areas were ordered to review and strengthen their camp and community defense plans amid threats of attacks.
“This is to prevent the repeat of similar attacks,” said Carlos, referring to BIFF attack in North Cotabato and the raid of a police station in Iloilo.
Based on the latest monitoring, some of the BIFF men were monitored to be in marshland area outside of Pigkawayan town.
It was recalled that some of the BIFF fighters were found to have killed farm animals and destroyed religious items of a chapel in Barangay Malagakit in Pigkawayan.
Most of the residents have already returned home but some of them go back to the evacuation centers during nighttime for fear of BIFF surprise attack.