Why The BDF Sent Soldiers To Erect A Fence

Last night on the news, you saw the fence that the BDF is building out at the Benque Viejo border - and heard about the slight disturbance it created with Guatemalan Taxi drivers crying foul.

Today we asked the BDF Commander why they chose to send the BDF to build a fence at the border and what was the message sent by that. He said it was a practical decision:

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"Usually if you want to put up a fence or cordoned off an area, you hire a contractor and it's just a civil process. Why did you all choose to send in the military in the form of a light engineering company?"

General Steven Ortega, Commander - BDF
"What happened is that they have been experiencing some security issues out at the border point and the National Security Council tasked the ministry to assist the border management and the other agencies working along the border checkpoint to fix it. We sent out our team to do the security aspect of it. We realized that it is something that we prefer our engineers to conduct this type of construction that is going to be represented out there."

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"You had a little bit of excitement on Sunday when the BDF reached and they had to eject the Guatemalan taxi men from that area who usually use that area. It raised a bit of alarm and the PNC came over and had this tension. Explain to me what that situation was and how you all chose to diffuse it."

General Steven Ortega, Commander - BDF
"What happened is that when the guys deployed out there prior to this, all the people who were in this border area have already been warned that there will be construction happening out there. The guys picked Sunday evening believing that it would've been the quietest time to get their equipment and material stationed out there. As anything the military does, we have to secure what we put out there because of our limited resources. The way we secure things is with weapons. When the guys got there, the taxi men kinda refused to move at first. We told them that they've already been told that they were going to use this place for the construction. Afterwards they complied and moved off. The police came over to find out what was happening. We explained to them because they knew about it already. The counterparts on the other side have been informed so when they realized its only that, they moved back across. There wasn't really any tension as such between the neighbors it was just the taxi men who were as usual always reluctant to change."

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"After the fence is built, will you all still maintain a presence out there at this border crossing?"

General Steven Ortega, Commander - BDF
"We have never maintained a presence there and we never will."

Channel 7