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PBBM calls on AFP troops to ensure peaceful 2025 BARMM polls

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 13:30 PM Sun Jul 7, 2024
Filane Mikee Cervantes
PEACEFUL POLLS. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. calls on the AFP to ensure the holding of peaceful elections for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) parliament next year, during his visit to the 11th ID base in Jolo. (PBBM FB)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. called on troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Sulu to ensure the holding of peaceful elections for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) parliament next year.

Marcos made the call during his visit to the headquarters of the 11th Infantry Division (ID) in Camp Teodulfo Bautista in Jolo, Sulu on Friday.

“Kailangan natin magkaroon ng peaceful na election sa darating na halalan (We must hold a peaceful election [next year]),” he was quoted as saying in a Presidential Communications Office (PCO) news release. “Napakahalaga dahil kailangan nating masabi na nahalal itong mga members of the parliament… nang tama (It's important that we make sure that members of the parliament are elected the right way)."

Marcos said the AFP should ensure that terrorism and political violence do not interfere with the political exercise.

“Walang terrorism, walang political violence. Basta’t minimized natin lahat ‘yan (There should be no terrorism or political violence. Those should be minimized)," he said.

This will be the first time for the country to conduct parliamentary elections for the BARMM, which will coincide with the midterm legislative elections on May 12, 2025.

Marcos reminded the uniformed personnel that elections must be won in peace.

“Let us not sit on our laurels kung baga (so to speak). Let us not become complacent because these are challenges that we will have to manage,” he said.

The President emphasized that peace in Mindanao is a priority of the government.

“That is all in the interest of peace. We do this because we want peace to continue in this area, in the southern Philippines. We do not want to see the kind of fighting that we saw many decades ago," he said.

He hailed government forces in Mindanao for successfully reducing the threat posed by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and other enemies of the state in the province.

“I have to congratulate all of you who have worked to achieve this success, who have worked very hard and have made many sacrifices so that we can now say that the capabilities of the main threat, which is the ASG, have been severely reduced,” he said.

As the Commander-in-Chief, the President said he was briefed by the military command in Sulu on the constant drop in the insurgents’ capabilities, manpower, and number of firearms.

“Ang assessment na nga ay ‘yung threat (The assessment is that the threat) is only from individual actors. Wala na silang units na gumagalaw (They don't have any units acting) as a unit. They are… basically (neutralized)… We have dismantled their machinery for causing, for bringing terror,” he added.

Marcos was also informed about the diminishing threat posed by other terrorist groups.

“We also spoke briefly about the continuing threat of outside terrorist groups coming in, ‘yung mga Al-Qaeda-inspired, ‘yung mga ISIS-inspired na dating nakikita nating pumapasok dito ay mukha namang hindi na… tayo masyadong nate-threaten tungkol sa ganyang klase (the Al-Qaeda-inspired and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIS-inspired groups that we saw enter here, they don't appear to be a threat anymore to us),” he said.

Marcos, meanwhile, highlighted the AFP’s shift to external defense amid the emerging regional threats, particularly in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

He said the goal of creating a task force with a maritime force and the Navy is to beef up the Philippine Coast Guard’s presence and police the area.

“Ito ‘yung mga gagawin natin para maging mas secure tayo, lalung-lalo na dito sa area ninyo dahil (These are the steps we are taking to keep us secure, especially in your area because) I’m sure that there are many, many instances na mayroon tayong report na mga dumadaan na barko (that we received reports of passing ships),” Marcos told the troops.

“So, we just have to keep vigilant and to continue to watch what is going on and to make sure that namo-monitor natin lahat ng nangyayari (we are monitoring everything that is happening).” (PNA)

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