New Communications Network Opens In Jolo Island

July 8, 2007 at 9:34 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jolo island Governor Abdusakur Tan gives a speech at the turn-over ceremony for the Talipao Area Coordination Center on Saturday July 7, 2007 in Bilaan village. (Photo contributed by the U.S. Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines)

JOLO ISLAND (Mindanao Examiner / 08 Jul) – Philippine and U.S. officials formally opened another inter-agency communication network to coordinate all 52 villages in the town of Talipao in Jolo island in the Sulu Archipelago.

Called the Talipao Area Coordination Center, the island’s elected governor, Sakur Tan, led Filipino and American officials in the inauguration Saturday of a newly-constructed building that houses the ACC in the village of Bilaan.

The ACC will coordinate the town’s villages and various non-governmental agencies, military, police, emergency services and other organizations.

“The constituents of Sulu, specifically the people of Talipao, are very fortunate to have a facility such as this,” said Army Brig. Gen. Ruperto Pabustan, commander of Special Operations Forces on the island.

“We are very lucky that we have an energetic and hard-working governor who recognizes the importance of having an ACC at both the provincial and municipal levels of government,” Pabustan said.

Tan said that the ACC is the perfect forum for the Moro National Liberation Front and the Abu Sayyaf Group to peacefully resolve grievances.

“We are expanding, and intend to link our municipal ACCs with a provincial ACC,” said Tan.

“Alone, I cannot do this. I need all of you, all government officials from all sectors, all military, all organizations including the MNLF and the ASG.”

“If they are genuinely concerned, this is the forum to voice those concerns,” he said. “We are going to invite them to sit down and discuss these issues peacefully.”

U.S. Army Maj. Michael Kenny, commander of American forces on the island, also expressed his admiration for the positive conflict resolution tools utilized by the Sulu provincial government.

“The ACC has been defined as a facility or office that is established as a proactive, reactive, and post conflict mechanism to address various concerns at regional and local levels of governance and to solve problems of coordination and response,” Kenny said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner on Sunday.

“Most importantly, the ACC is a symbol of the people’s awareness of the need to coordinate efforts in addressing the concerns of the citizenry that affect peace, progress and development,” he said.

Pabustan emphasized that the ACC is not just a communications center.

“The ACC will function both as a system and as a council for planning, integrating, directing, supervising, and implementing line-up government programs and projects particularly on political, socioeconomic, cultural, religious, development, security and information issues,” he said.

It was the sixth ACC to be built in Jolo island, but not the last, he said.

Future plans call for ACCs to be built in the remaining 12 municipalities to create a complete network of open communications across the island.

“What we need is aggressive, cooperative leadership,” said Tan. “I am very confident that together, we cannot fail.”

U.S. troops are deployed in Jolo island, on the request of the Philippine government, to train and advise the local military. They are also active in humanitarian missions and were working alongside with Filipino soldiers in development projects on poor areas in Jolo. (Mindanao Examiner)

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