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23/11/2009: Statement from the President on Maguindanao

The President condemned in the strongest terms the violence in Maguindanao today.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directed the Armed Forces of the Philippines through Secretary Norberto Gonzales and the police through Secretary of Interior and Local Government Ronaldo Puno to order their units to conduct immediate and relentless pursuit of the perpetrators, to secure the affected areas.

The President ordered Acting Secretary Gonzales, and the Acting Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines General Rodrigo Maclang to proceed to Maguindanao tomorrow morning to personally oversee military action against the perpetrators of these dastardly acts.

No effort will be spared to bring justice to the victims and hold the perpetrators accountable to the full limit of the law.

Civilized society has no place for this kind of violence, the President said, as she assured that the rule of law will be restored in the area, and the lawless elements neutralized.

The Chief of Staff, meanwhile, in compliance with the President’s directives, had ordered the establishment of checkpoints and chokepoints, with elements of the 601st Infantry Brigade already in place to preserve peace in the area.

Additional troops have been ordered deployed by the President to further secure the area.

(Office of the Press Secretary)