Security forces conduct exercise to thwart terror

A COUNTER-TERROR simulation exercise was conducted yesterday by Joint Task Force Haribon at the headquarters of Task Force Davao in Sta. Ana wharf to gear up for the Araw ng  Dabaw celebration.

Speaking in yesterday’s AFP-PNP press conference, Brig. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, the commander of Joint Task Force Haribon, expressed satisfaction about the results of the simulation exercise involving air, land and water components of the AFP.

“We have noticed some minor defects particularly on the radio communications but this is one thing we will look into,” he said. “That’s the beauty of simulation so we can see the things we need to improve.”

“It also shows the capability of the JTF Haribon in protecting the city,” he added.

Benito de Leon, chief of Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC), said the activity will hopefully help secure the city going forward.

“We have seen the ability (of security forces) to integrate and cooperate to pin down the target,” de Leon said.

In terms of air assets, Lt. Col. Jose Richie Pabilonia, head of Tactical Operations Group (TOG) XI , said air force personnel can go anywhere to bring artillery support to the ground forces engaged in a battle.

Based on the scenario of the exercise, Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf group members and Lanao-based Maute group managed to escape from the military operations in Lanao del Sur. The group moved towards south going to Cotabato where they commandeered speed boats and headed towards the Davao region via sea lanes.

Intelligence units were able to track one of the speed boats. This information was immediately relayed to the command center, which in turn deployed the Naval Special Operations Group (NavSOG) patrol boat and the MG 520 attack helicopters. At the same time, a naval blockade was set up by the Patrol Craft 376 of the Navy.

After a successful takedown operation on the subject speed boat, navy personnel recovered a hostage and wounded terrorist.

The units involved were the counter-terrorism unit of Task Force Davao, NavSOG, quick response force of JJTF Haribon, Explosives Ordnance Division, K9 units and TOG XI.

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