Cawa-Cawa. A rocky coastline along Justice RT Lim Boulevard got its name from the channel across where it was built. The shores of the main peninsula was formed like an arc or a semi – “C” fronting the islands of Sta. Cruz. Old folks likened the formation to the bottom of a large frying pan. In the native dialect, they called it “Kawa”.
The camp occupies an area of just a little over three hectares at Cawa-Cawa and was part of a zone set aside as a military reservation under a 1909 proclamation signed by the American governor-general. In 1918, the bureau of lands declared the campsite Cawa-Cawa area as “tiera insular” or public land and was subsequently considered a military reservation area. In view of its location, locals called the old PC Camp as Camp Cawa-Cawa, which has no legal or statutory basis.
The camp was first occupied in the early sixties by the 91st Philippine Constabulary (PC) Company using the lot’s old two-story vintage Spanish wooden building as headquarters. In 1969, the Southwest Command (SOWESCOM) was created and organized, placing under its supervision and control all AFP units in the area including the PC. Camp Cawa-Cawa was used as its base. In 1976, when the PC component building caught fire, a new headquarters was established. The PC/INP Regional Command IX (RECOM IX) was created on July 1, 1978. The historic infamous event in January 1989 popularly known as the Cawa-Cawa siege provided the impetus for the renaming of the former PRO9 Headquarters in honor of the late BRIGADIER GENERAL EDUARDO B BATALLA (1988-1989). The new PNP PRO9 Camp at Mercedes, Zamboanga City is named as Camp Col. Romeo A Abendan, in memory of the former Chief Of Staff of PC/INP RECOM 9 who was also killed during the hostage-taking incident staged by a group led by ex-Patrolman Rizal Alih at Camp Cawa-Cawa on January 4-6, 1989.
The present PRO 9 Headquarters is a 10-hectare lot located 13 kilometers East of Zamboanga City proper. The entire lot was purchased in two separate titles. The first one was bought during the incumbency of BRIG. GEN. CIRILO A BUENO, JR while the second was acquired during the incumbency of then PCSUPT ROBERTO T LASTIMOSO, and during his term the administrative building was constructed. The seven newly completed buildings were inaugurated under the stewardship of PCSUPT DOMINADOR C RESOS, JR. Other old buildings were later refurbished, while new buildings were built in accordance with the camp development plan. The Regional Logistics and Research Development Division, 9th Regional Mobile Group (now RPSB 9) and the Regional Headquarters Support Group took charge of the clearing, landscaping and face lifting of the new home of the premier law enforcement agency in Western Mindanao. This was made to improve the working environment of the PRO 9 work force and enhance the capability of a pro-clientele organization.
With the support of the PNP National Headquarters coupled with the initiative of PRO 9, Camp Romeo A Abendan will be a world-class nature’s preserve with beautiful landscapes and a teeming forest in the urban jungle of Zamboanga City.