Tuesday Nov, 29 2022 05:07:04 AM

Soldiers glad with President’s visit to Camp Siongco

Mindanao Peace Process • 16:45 PM Sat Sep 17, 2022
John M. Unson
President Marcos inspects the firearms yielded by terrorists to the 6th Infantry Division. (From 6th ID DPAO)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao - Soldiers in central Mindanao got elated with the President’s appreciation of their efforts to contain local terrorists via peaceful interventions, Army officials said Saturday.

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. met with officials the Army’s 6th Infantry Division here on Thursday, after his brief engagement in nearby Cotabato City with members of the 80-seat Bangsamoro parliament that he appointed last month.

“Our morale soared high, motivating us to work harder in securing the communities in our area of responsibility through domestic peace programs,” Army Major Gen. Roy Galido told reporters .

Galido is commander of 6th ID that has three brigades and more than a dozen battalions deployed in strategic areas in central Mindanao.

The President had explicitly told 6th ID officials and their subordinates to “keep up the good work” during a traditional military “talk to the troops” event while in this camp, where the division’s headquarters is located.

Units of the Army’s 6th ID had secured the surrender, since 2017, of 367 members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and its ally, the Dawlah Islamiya.

Both terrorist groups operate in the fashion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and are tagged in all deadly bombings in central Mindanao since 2014.

Galido said they were glad with the President’s recognition of their role in maintaining law and order in central Mindanao, being done via backchannel peacebuilding maneuvers.

The 6th ID covers the provinces of Maguindanao, North Cotabato, Lanao del Sur, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato and Sarangani, and the cities of Cotabato, Tacurong, Koronadal and General Santos.

Officials of 6th ID also showed President Marcos, while here, hundreds of assorted firearms turned in by local terrorists who have returned to the fold of law.

No fewer than 200 members of the New People’s Army have also surrendered in batches to units of 6th ID in the past 24 months.

Many of them belong to the indigenous communities in hinterland towns in Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato.

Lt. Col. Edgardo Vilchez, who is overseeing 6th ID’s civil-military and communications programs, said Saturday what was equally consoling for them was how President Marcos had insinuated about the Army’s flexibility in dealing with challenges related to its peacekeeping missions everywhere.

“We are thankful to President Marcos for his visit to Camp Siongco,” Vilchez said.  


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