The Need to Relocate the Task Force Talakudong (Tacurong City)
By Apolinario Villalobos
The Task Force Talakudong is currently located at the former “resort” area where a swimming pool is located within the Magsaysay Park facing the Alunan highway which poses a danger for the city. Military outposts are among the primary targets of unfriendly elements that would like to sow destruction as part of their operation. In this regard, the location of the military outpost definitely poses a danger to the whole city even if only a couple of guided missiles are directed to it, especially, because the City Hall is just a few meters from it.
In the past, the former Philippine Constabulary (PC) had a headquarters in Isulan until the said AFP branch was converted into the Philippine National Police (PNP). The location was strategic, considering that it was located in the middle of the “danger zone” that today, still include Esperanza, Bagumbayan, Tacurong, President Quirino, Lambayong and Tantangan. Esperanza and Bagumbayan are at the foot of Mt. Daguma; Lambayong and President Quirino are adjacent to Ligwasan Marsh; and Tantangan is located at the foothills near Columbio. On the other hand, Tacurong being at the center of all these, still serve as the evacuation center.
Another important reason why the Task Force Talakudong should be located is the need for a much bigger area that could accommodate an expanded contingent and additional equipment which is very necessary. The current location is obviously inadequate for such scheme. My suggestion is its relocation outside the heavily populated downtown area where the City Hall is also located, and not outside the city periphery or at the very least in a boundary area with another town where the AFP deems appropriate. It should be noted that both the Ligwasan Marsh and the Daguma mountain ranges though charted, are not completely protected from unfriendly elements. They have been known as lairs of rebels and bandits, if I have to be frank about it. Though the once considered as “rebels” , except the NPA, are now in good terms with the Duterte government, the rest are viewed as bandits and terrorists. And, their infiltration of the friendly groups is very possible.
The unrest today is obviously political, not religious, as the latter is just being used by the ambitious groups for their selfish motives. There is a peaceful co-existence among Christians and Muslims in the area, and that cannot be doubted. Again, the problem could arise if the so-called infiltration which is a terroristic strategy would be employed. There is much to be learned from the Marawi tragedy in this regard. It is high time that the Armed Forces of the Philippines should give the issue on the Task Force Talakudong a serious attention. The current seemingly “peaceful” situation in southern Mindanao should not be taken for granted.