By Betheena Kae Unite
Security in the southern border of the country would be further strengthened as plans to create the country’s first Interagency Border Security Coordinating Council are underway.
Bureau of Customs-Port of Davao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and other government agencies signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) recently to form the Interagency Border Security Coordinating Council.
Lawyer Erastus Sandino Austria, district collector of the Bureau of Customs-Port of Davao, said the MOA was a product of the series of interagency meetings which the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) of the AFP coordinated.
It was disclosed that the council aims to curb the entry of terrorism as well as prevent illegal activities in its area of responsibility.
EastMinCom, in a statement said, the martial law currently in place in Mindanao has driven the AFP to strengthen border security.
“[We are] continuously strengthening the border security to prevent terrorism, violent extremism, and other crime syndicates from entering the country via the southern border,” it said.
Representatives from the regional government agencies also elected the council’s officers during the MOA signing.
EastMinCom, represented by Lt. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, holds the chairmanship. Representatives from Police Regional Office (PRO) 11, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) 11, Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao (NFEM), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) 11, and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) 11 were the five elected vice chairpersons.
Other signatories to the MOA are the Philippine Ports Authority-Port Management Office Davao, Philippine Coast Guard, National Bureau of Investigation-Central Mindanao Regional Office, and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 11.