By The Nation
The entourage left the Don Mueang Military Airport at 7am, with Prayut accompanied by Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda, Agriculture Minister Chalermchai Sri-on, Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan, Deputy Defence Minister General Chaicharn Changmongkhol, Deputy Interior Minister Songsak Thongsee and Army Commander-in-Chief General Apirat Kongsompong.
The plane flew to Pattani International Airport in Nong Chik district, from which the entourage travelled in vehicles to the Southern Border Provinces’ Government Complex in Yala.
When Prayut and his entourage reached the complex at 9:45am, they were received by Fourth Army Area Commander Lt-General Pornsak Poolsawat and Rear Admiral Somkiart Pholprayoon, chief of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre, as well as by the Yala provincial governor, Anuchit Trakulmuthita.
Security around the complex was stepped up and the prime minister was driven in a bullet-proof Toyota Fortuner SUV.
Prayut chaired the opening ceremony of the complex, which centralises all government agencies that provide services to people in the region. It has over 10,000 square metres of usable space spread over 16 floors. The building is divided into sections for public services, economic development operations, social development operations, a section for education development operations and security operations.
Prayut later met with local people and government officials. He was briefed of the progress of Yala provincial developments by the governor and informed about various developments in the southern border provinces by Somkiart.
Prayut also handed over allowances for religious leaders in the five southern border provinces via the provincial Islamic committees. He also delivered the compensation to three people who had been affected by violence in the provinces.
During the ceremony, the prime minister handed out cards from the Office of Board of Investment and thank-you letters to five companies that have come to invest in the southern border provinces. They are Deluxe Co Ltd, Superb Creation Furniture Ltd (a Hong Kong-based company), Man Ku Wang Foods Co Ltd, Nong Chik Development Co Ltd and Front Interwood Co Ltd.
The prime minister also handed over land deeds to three religious leaders and people from Yala and Pattani.
After leaving the complex, Prayut went to the One Start One Stop Investment Centre to chair its opening ceremony. The OSOS centre aims to stimulate economic development in the region and to provide business consultations.
Later on, the prime minister chaired the opening ceremony of a centre that will provide remedy and compensation to those affected by regional violence.
The prime minister and his entourage also visited a centre that coordinates operations to support children and women in the southern border provinces. The centre serves as a coordinator for all sectors to lend a hand through projects to increase the quality of life for children and women in the region. Key government agencies that take part in the operations include the SBPAC, the Internal Security Operations Command’s Forward Command and the Social Development and Human Security Ministry.