AFP deploys more troops to Maguindanao

Posted at 11/25/2009 4:46 PM | Updated as of 11/25/2009 4:46 PM

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday said more troops were deployed to Maguindanao to augment police maintaining peace and order in the province.

“We have infused more troops into the area. The 46th Infantry Battalion just arrived back from Samar and we have also increased the number of armored personnel carriers and armored assets into the area,” AFP spokesperson, Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner Jr. said.

Brawner told ANC’s Special Coverage of the Maguindanao massacre that they have also added more air gunships in the area to conduct pursuit operations against the suspects.

The additional troops, he said, are tasked to conduct checkpoint operations in the areas of Maguindanao, Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.

“Aside from that, the more important aspect of this checkpoint is to ensure that no firearms will be brought in or out of these areas,” Brawner said.

The AFP spokesperson said a total gun ban is now in effect in Maguindanao following the massacre that killed more than 50 people.

"According the chief of the Philippine National Police, we will be implementing now a gun ban in the area. So this means we will be checking whether these people who are bringing firearms with them are authorized to do so or not. And if they are not authorized, they will be charged with illegal possession of firearms," he explained.

Brawner added that the AFP is looking into reports that members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit or CAFGU were involved in the Maguindanao massacre.

"The investigation as to the involvement of our own men would be impartial, would be transparent. We are also after the truth. If we find out that our own CAFGUS are actually involved in this heinous crime, we will not tolerate this and we ourselves will file charges against this people," he said.