AFP meets with BARMM officials to discuss regional peace, development

Robie de Guzman   •   May 4, 2021   •   541

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.

Military Black Hawk choppers deployed to aid missions in Western Mindanao

Robie de Guzman   •   November 5, 2021

Two Black Hawk helicopters acquired by the Philippine military have been deployed to the Western Mindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Friday.

In a statement, the AFP Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) said its major Air Force Unit, Tactical Operations Wing-Western Mindanao (TOW-WM), has received the S70i Black Hawk Utility helicopters on November 4 at the Edwin Andrews Air Base.

These units will be used to aid in various missions, including support in combat operations and quick response for humanitarian aid, it added.

“We are very grateful that the top brass considered the deployment of these air assets which will greatly contribute to the accomplishment of our missions here in Western Mindanao,” said WestMinCom Commander, Maj. Gen. Alfredo Rosario, Jr.

Colonel Dennis Estrella, wing commander of the TOW-WM, said that the deployment of the Blackhawk helicopters will boost the capability of the armed forces in both lethal and non-lethal operations.

“Expect that with the deployment of the Black Hawk helicopters in our unit, our operations will greatly improve as these helicopters have larger capacity and more impressive horsepower allowing a faster and longer-range transport. In addition, the said helicopters have the ability to absorb high-impact velocities enabling it to withstand strong turbulent winds,” Estrella said.

Japan pledges food aid to Bangsamoro farmers, fisherfolks

Robie de Guzman   •   November 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The government of Japan has committed to provide 350 million yen in food assistance to farmers, fisherfolks, and other vulnerable sectors in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), its embassy in Manila said Thursday.

In a statement, the embassy said the grant aid will be implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP), which will procure approximately 1,788 metric tons of Japanese rice for distribution to beneficiaries.

The project seeks to support around 9,877 farming and fishing households, including decommissioned combatants and indigenous peoples in Bangsamoro.

“To supplement the food and nutrition needs of the targeted population, the Japanese rice will be fortified with iron prior to distribution,” the embassy said.

“Through this undertaking, vulnerable and conflict-affected communities in BARMM are expected to have improved food security, resilience, and livelihood, which will enhance peace and achieve development in the Region,” it added.

The food aid project for BARMM was signed between Japanese Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko and WFP Representative and Country Director Brenda Barton.

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., Foreign Affairs Acting Secretary Theresa Lazaro and BARMM Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform Deputy Minister Ammal Solaiman also witnessed the event.

Terror leader killed in Maguindanao clash – military

Robie de Guzman   •   October 29, 2021

A leader of terror group Daulah Islamiyah was killed in an encounter with state troops in Maguindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Friday.

In a statement, the AFP identified the terrorist as Salahuddin Hassan, who was believed to the “overall Amir” of Daulah Islamiyah.

Hassan was also said to be the one behind the series of bombings and terror attacks in Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat.

The military said Hassan was killed early Friday morning in a joint police and military operation in Barangay Damablac in the municipality of Talayan.

Also killed in the clash was Hassan’s wife, Jehana Minbida, who was said to be the finance officer of the terror group.

The operation was launched following report from residents on the presence of suspicious armed individuals in the area.

Hassan was allegedly trying to escape when he was killed by the troops. He was seriously wounded and was left by his group along with his wife, the AFP said.

“Our operating troops were able to recover the cadaver of Hassan and Minbida together with several firearms and war material which includes a 5.56mm R4 Rifle, bandoliers, ammunition, various war paraphernalia, and subversive documents,” the military said.

AFP chief of staff General Jose Faustino Jr. commended the units involved in the operation.

“This latest accomplishment is a significant blow against the DIHG (Daulah Islamiyah-Hassan Group) and another victory in our thrust against terrorism. With their leader now dead, the terrorist group will certainly crumble,” he said.

 

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