Duterte rules out disbanding Task Force Davao
DAVAO CITY – Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said he will not advise the pull out of troops from the military’s Task Force Davao as the city still needs it to thwart terrorists’ threats.
Duterte said he still saw the need to keep the military unit in the city in response to the military’s pronouncement any pull-out could be possible only with an order from President Arroyo and the decision of the local government hosting it.
“As long as I say I need law enforcers to stay here, they will stay,” he told the audience to the opening ceremonies of a training program of the city police’s Traffic Management Group Friday.
Duterte told reporters the creation of Task Force Davao was ordered by the President so deployment of these troops emanates from her as commander-in-chief.
He said he has requested for the troops’ presence in the city in 2003 following twin bombings that rocked Davao.Arroyo appointed Duterte as crisis manager in the aftermath of the bombings.
The Commission on Human Rights has pinned alleged violations of civil and political rights to the military’s presence in Metro Manila and has called for their pull out recently citing reported complaints from residents.
President Arroyo, however, praised in her visit, the troops deployed in areas around the capital region.
The military said it is the left, not the residents who are calling for the pull out.
Human rights group Karapatan has toed the CHR’s line.
Kelly Delgado, Karapatan Southern Mindanao secretary-general, told MindaNews while they respect the mayor’s stand, they still would call for the military to disband its urban troops in Davao.
Delgado alleged the military is involved with campaigning against progressive organizations eyeing representation in party-list system in the elections and is “militarizing” the city.
The military’s East Mindanao Command chief, Rodolfo Obaniana, said last week they have received no order to terminate Task Force Davao. He cited the role played by the military presence in the city’s progress.
Obaniana, however, admitted they have been told to prepare a contingency plan, in case a pull out is ordered. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)