AFP meets with BARMM officials to discuss regional peace, development

Robie de Guzman   •   May 4, 2021   •   181

Military officials and key ministers of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) met to discuss measures to sustain peace and development in the region, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) said.

AFP WestMinCom chief Lieutenant General Corleto Vinluan Jr. said he and the military commanders of the Joint Task Force Sulu paid a courtesy call to BARMM chief minister Ahod Ebrahim and his ministers in Cotabato City on Monday, May 3 to express their gratitude for the region’s support in addressing the armed conflict in Muslim Mindanao.

Vinluan also assured that the military will support the Bangsamoro government in its quest for peace and development.

“The Joint Normalization is moving forward despite various challenges, and it only shows our shared commitment to finally achieve lasting peace in Southern Philippines,” he said in a statement.

“Rest assured that WestMinCom will support the Bangsamoro Government, as a strong partner in our joint quest for peace and development,” Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr. further stated,” he added.

Vinluan also disclosed that the meeting was conducted to provide BARMM ministers “areas for partnership, determine the mechanism platform of support relationship, and jointly establish a mechanism of coordination, collaboration, and convergence of efforts with the security sector.”

“The strengthened cooperation and convergence between the armed forces and our stakeholders led to the effective implementation of efforts to address terrorism and insurgency in the region. This is an opportune event to sustain our gains in the province of Sulu” he added.

According to Joint Task Force Sulu Commander Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, the province of Sulu as one of the six provinces of BARMM is now ready for sustainable development.

The security situation in the province is considered at a manageable level as manifested by the diminished level of atrocities.

“We fervently believe that the BARMM and the Joint Task Force Sulu can work hand-in-hand towards sustaining the peace and can bring significant development in the province,” Gonzales said.

“Rest assured that we in the Joint Task Force Sulu and 11th Infantry Division, your army in Western Mindanao, will remain committed as ever. We will never bring down our guards in protecting the people and the communities and shall continue to uphold and contribute to sustaining the community development,” he added.

In a message, Ebrahim said expressed gratitude for the military’s support in maintaining order and in building the Bangsamoro region.

“We are fortunate that in the journey towards peace in the Bangsamoro region, we have our dear partners from the security sector to help us out in maintaining order, troops whom we once faced at the other side of defense but are now working with us side by side, one in building the Bangsamoro region,” he said.

“We are very thankful to the Western Mindanao Command for the help you extended to sustain the peace and order in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, and the entire Bangsamoro region,” he added.

Duterte asks BARMM officials to help gov’t deal with BIFF, terrorist groups

Robie de Guzman   •   May 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has appealed to leaders of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to help the national government deal with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other terrorist groups to prevent an “all-out offensive” against the militants.

Duterte made the appeal during his meeting with BARMM officials, police and military commanders in 6th Infantry Division (6ID) at Camp Brigadier General Gonzalo Siongco in Datu Odin, Sinsuat, Maguindanao on Tuesday.

“Nagmamakaawa ako sa inyo, tulungan ninyo ako. Because otherwise, if I give the order for an all-out offensive, it will be bloody and it will be sad,” he said.

The president also asked Bangsamoro authorities to refuse terrorist groups seeking sanctuary in their communities to stop any violence and prevent him from using force.

“This cannot go on. Kung hindi ko mapigilan and there will be an all-out offensive, yan na ang problema. If I give the order, I will no longer withdraw it,” he said.

Duterte visited Maguindanao following the clash between soldiers and some BIFF members last Saturday.

Around 20 BIFF members occupied the Datu Paglas public market but state security forces drove them away before they could attack civilian residents.

Terrorist group sub-leader killed in Maguindanao ops – military

Robie de Guzman   •   May 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A local terrorist group sub-leader was neutralized in a special military operation in Maguindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) said.

In a statement, WestMinCom chief Lieutenant General Corleto Vinluan Jr. said the operation was conducted on May 11 in Barangay Dapaiawan, Datu Saudi Ampatuan in Maguindanao.

Members of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade launched the operation, which led to the death of Kopang Sahak, a.k.a. Tarzan, a sub-leader of the Daulah Islamiyah-Maguid Group.

Kopang Sahak had a standing warrant of arrest for frustrated murder charges and was also listed in the Department of National Defense (DND) Arrest Order No. 216, according to 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade commander, Colonel Pedro Balisi.

“With the neutralization of their leader, it is expected that the group will weaken,” Vinluan said.

Major General Juvymax Uy, commander of the Joint Task Force Central, said state forces will continue to mount offensives to go after the remaining members of the Daulah Islamiyah-Maguid Group in the area.

Since January 2021, a total of 11 Daulah Islamiyah personalities were neutralized in central Mindanao, the military said.

Duterte to visit Cotabato following BIFF attack in Maguindanao – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   May 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will head to Cotabato on Tuesday following the clash between soldiers and some members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) over the weekend, Malacañang said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the president will meet with the officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), and government security troops to discuss the incident in Datu Paglas, Maguindanao.

“Siya po ay makikipag-ugnayan sa BARMM officials, sa ating kapulisan, sa ating kasundaluhan at pag-uusapan nila kung paano maiiwasan yung insidente nga nung Linggo, kung saan ilang armadong miyembro ng BIFF ay panandaliang nag-occupy ng Datu Paglas pero sandali lang naman iyon at napaalis din sila ng hukbong sandatahan,” Roque said in an online briefing.

“Ang objective po ng Presidente, para iparating ang mensahe na hindi po niya puwedeng pabayaan ang kaniyang katungkulan na ipatupad ang batas,” he added.

On Saturday, around 20 BIFF members led by Mohiden Animbang a.k.a. Karialan occupied the Datu Paglas public market but state security forces drove them away before they could attack civilian residents.

“Dahil nga po doon sa insidente kung saan ilang miyembro ng BIFF ay panandaliang nagtungo sa Datu Paglas, ang kaniyang mensahe, ang warning niya po talaga, ipatutupad niya ang batas at hindi niya kukunsintihin ang paggamit ng dahas diyan po sa Maguindanao,” Roque said.

The military earlier said that the situation in Datu Paglas has already normalized but assured that security forces “will not rest until the threat is neutralized.”

Local officials and residents in Maguindanao were also urged to remain vigilant despite the thwarted attack of the armed group.


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