Tuesday Mar, 31 2020 06:24:50 PM

Basilan gov’t building “peace bridge” in former Abu hideout

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 10:15 AM Fri Feb 28, 2020
John M. Unson

COTABATO CITY --- The provincial government of Basilan is constructing a bridge connecting a former lair of the Abu Sayyaf to trading centers in Sumisip town in the island province.

The bridge will link the communities in the once dangerous Pansul Basih area to Barangay Tumahubong, Sumisip and to other towns in Basilan.

The setting up of the bridge, needed to provide farmers and school children access to market sites and schools in Barangay Tumahubong and elsewhere, respectively, is a project of Gov. Jim Salliman.

The office of Sumisip Mayor Julz Hataman and the Army’s 64th Infantry Battalion are both helping push the project forward, according to the governor.

In a press statement Friday, the office of Salliman said the bridge project will boost the productivity of farmers in Barangay Baiwas and nearby areas.

Salliman said it will also ensure the safety of school children crossing the river during school days to attend classes in Barangay Tumahubong.

“This bridge can even be an icon of hope and peace and on how the area is rising from security problems that we have addressed via inter-agency cooperation,” Salliman said.  

Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said Friday he is thankful to Salliman and the local government unit of Sumisip for embarking on the bridge project.

Barangay Baiwas is a former stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, made “peace zone” two years ago after the police, the WestMinCom and provincial officials worked out the surrender via backdoor talks of its members who had used the area as springboard for their terror activities.

“The provincial government is actively providing infrastructure support to restore normalcy in former strongholds of the Abu Sayyaf. It is a very good solution to the underdevelopment the presence of this group in far-flung areas had caused,” Sobejana said.

Sumisip is the largest town in the now peaceful Basilan, now bouncing back from armed conflicts in decades past that affected badly the local communities. 

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