Sunday Apr, 21 2024 09:56:40 PM

Residents see peace and calm in Basilan in 2024

TIMRA Reports • 12:00 PM Wed Jan 3, 2024
John Felix Unson
Officials of the Army's 101st Infantry Brigade offered the Moro Islamic Liberation Front leaders with gifts during their peace activity on Thursday. (From 101st Infantry Brigade)

COTABATO CITY -Residents of Basilan are optimistic about peaceful days in 2024 with the renewed pledges of support from two former secessionist groups for the security efforts of the police and the military in the island province.

Local executives and members of the Basilan Provincial Peace and Order Council told reporters on Friday that they were elated with the peace dialogue last Thursday between officials of the Army’s 101st Infantry Brigade and provincial leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Barangay Serongon in Hadji Muhammad Ajul town.

Both sides agreed to maximize cooperation in sustaining the fragile peace now in the province during the symbolic meeting, meant to complement the peace initiatives of the local communities and the provincial government of Basilan.

Army Brig. Gen. Alvin Luzon, commander of the 101st Infantry Brigade, and MILF officials Adham Undaring and Julkipli Abdullah also agreed then to intensify their support for the law-enforcement activities of all units of the Basilan Provincial Police Office and the efforts of Gov. Hadjiman Salliman to negotiate the surrender of the few remaining Abu Sayyaf members in the province.

“We are grateful for these renewed commitments of support for the joint peacekeeping missions of our units in Basilan and their counterparts in the Basilan Provincial Police Office,” Lt. Gen. Roy Galido, commander of the Philippine Army, told reporters here via text message on Friday.

The MILF and the Moro National Liberation Front have separate peace deals with Malacañang that obliges both groups, the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police to address together security problems in southern provinces and cities.

Three ranking officials of the MNLF, the Bangsamoro Labor Minister Muslimin Sema and two representatives of Basilan to the Bangsamoro parliament, Hatimil Hassan and Muslimin Jakilan, said in a statement last week that their followers in the province shall help push the police, the military and Salliman's peacebuilding programs forward. 

The three MNLF officials also directed their followers in Basilan to keep their enclaves free from local terrorists and wanted criminals and, if possible, immediately turn them over to either the 101st Infantry Brigade, or to Basilan's police director, Col. Carlos Madronio.

The Southern Philippines Development Authority, the Bangsamoro Regional Board of Investments and the Bangsamoro Business Council have separate programs enticing capitalists from outside to put up viable business projects in Basilan, one of the six provinces in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Basilan is now touted as the new investment hub in BARMM.

Besides having secured the surrender in batches of close to 500 members of the Abu Sayyaf since 2016, local executives in Basilan, units of the provincial police and the 101st Infantry Brigade had also amicably settled 29  deadly clan wars in the island province in the past seven years.

Maluso Mayor Hanie Bud, president of the Basilan League of Mayors, said on Friday that they are glad with the expansion of the multi-sector partnership in keeping the peace and calm now in all four corners of the province.  

Thursday’s peacebuilding engagement of the 101st Infantry Brigade and the MILF’s provincial leaders in Barangay Serongon was capped off with the distribution of gifts and food to children of former Moro guerillas by the humanitarian entity Save the Children of War Association Incorporated led by its founder Arlyn Jawad Jumao-as, who is supportive of the peace initiatives of the 101st Infantry Brigade.


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