KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, July 4 (PIA) — In a bid to strengthen security measures in the province, North Cotabato’ s highest ranking official requested peacekeepers assigned in the province to strengthen their working relationship with local leaders.

At the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting Wednesday, Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza emphasized that peace and security is not only the concern of local government officials but everybody’s responsibility.

This is important, Mendoza said because so much has to be done and accomplished by local officials to keep their localities peaceful and secure, major reason why collaboration between military and police authorities and local government officials is very essential.

Reports on the situation of peace and order in the province were laid down by the military and police forces.

According to 602nd Brigade of the Philippine Army Commander Gen. Ademar Tomaro, incidents of harassment were recorded in some villages in Tulunan and Matalam in the 3rd district of North Cotabato and Midsayap in the 1st district.

With this, Gen. Tomaro said that the Phil. Army maintains its readiness in the possibility of conflict escalation in some parts of the province.

On the other hand, the army official noted that the recent clash between groups in Tulunan has already been contained after the creation of Task Force Barko-Barko that held several negotiations in Barangay Maybula.

Areas of responsibility of the brigade include 11 municipalities in North Cotabato, 3 in Maguindanao and 2 in Lanao del Sur province.

Meanwhile, Cotabato Police Provincial Office (CPPO), Police Senior Supt. Danilo Peralta explained that high crime volume — mostly street crimes and crimes against persons and properties — was reported in the 1st quarter of 2013.

However, he added, crime volume declined in the 2nd quarter, due to police operations, including massive checkpoints and strengthening of police visibility conducted by CPPO.

Both police and army officials, in return appealed to communities in their areas of responsibility to help them in addressing security concerns.

Local government units also reported security concerns in their respective jurisdictions and laid down recommendations to improve peace and order conditions in their area. (SJDuerme-PIA12/JSta.Cruz-N. Cotabato provincial government)