ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Armed Force of the Philippines- Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) has established a military camp in Taganak town in Tawi-Tawi province with the objective of curbing smuggling, sea piracy, and kidnapping in the sea waters bordering the country and Malaysia.

Gen Vinluan and Mayor Jamalul - Military establishes camp in Turtle Islands, Tawi-Tawi
AFP-WestMinCom Commander Lt Gen Corleto Vinluan, Jr (center) and Mayor Faizal Jamalul (3rd from left) pose outside the town hall of Turtle Islands during his visit to the town recently (Photo via Nonoy Lacson / MANILA BULLETIN)

AFP-WestMinCom Commander Lt Gen Corleto Vinluan, Jr. said Saturday, November 7, that a new camp for soldiers was established early this week in Great Bakungan island in Taganak town to prevent the entry of smuggled goods to the country,  human trafficking, including kidnapping and sea piracy.

Vinluan said he found the island  as  the most strategic location to soldiers  to hold camp   to boost security in the sea waters bordering  the country and Malaysia

Great Bakungan Island is a tropical island surrounded by the Sulu sea in Tawi-Tawi province, and is one of the seven islands comprising Turtle Islands town.

Turtle Islands (Tawi-Tawi)  Mayor Hji Faizal Jamalul said  “the presence of soldiers in  his town will be of great help to us particularly in  securing the tourists both local and national who are visiting  our natural tourism site in the municipality.”

Faizal said, “Turtle Islands was known as the nestling site of different turtle species in the world  and tourists would like to witness  for themselves the laying of their eggs at the shoreline of our islands.”

Faizal also agreed with Vinluan that the presence of the military in his town will prevent sea piracy, sea hijacking, and kidnapping including human trafficking, and  the entry to the country of smuggled goods.

Vinluan noted that Taganak town was less than an hour boat ride to Sandakan District in Sabah, and the presence of the military in Great Bakungan island will pave a way for a much better security understanding and cooperation between Sandakan, Malaysia and the country in the promotion of tourism industry in the Turtle Islands.

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