Wednesday Dec, 11 2019 02:45:57 AM

Westmincom: Lanao del Sur security situation improving

Mindanao Peace Process • 15:15 PM Fri Sep 20, 2019
John M. Unson
 Soldiers are securing Lanao del Sur tightly to constrict the movement of misguided Islamic militants. (John Unson) 

LANAO DEL SUR --- The Western Mindanao Command is confident it can soon defeat the now dwindling militant groups spreading violent extremism in far-flung areas in this province.  

“We are in fact anticipating the return to the fold of law of more misguided religious extremists from across Lanao del Sur soon," Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana of WestMinCom said Friday.

More than 20 members of the Maute terror group from different towns in Lanao del Sur have surrendered in batches to the Army’s 103rd Brigade and the Lanao del Sur provincial police since January, reports from the WestMinCom indicated.

Sobejana said they are thankful to the Lanao del Sur provincial peace and order council and the mayors in the province for supporting Malacañang’s campaign against misguided militants whose religious adventurism sparked the May 23 to August 16, 2017 conflict in Marawi City.

He said Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra and Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong, Jr. are contributing to efforts of keeping the peace in the city after combined Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists laid siege to its barangays for five months in 2017.

“We did not have big problems among feuding clans in the province in recent months either,” Sobejana said.

The 103rd Brigade under the Army’s 1st Infantry Division covers Marawi City and nearby towns while the Army’s 6th Infantry Division has jurisdiction over seaside areas in Lanao del Sur.

Officials of the two Army divisions are now initiating backchannel efforts to persuade more members of the Maute terror group to reintegrate into mainstream society.

Not a single violent incident ever occurred in Lanao del Sur since the province began observing the September 1 to 30 National Peace Consciousness month, according to Sobejana.

Sobejana said there has not been any hostility between rival clans in Lanao del Sur in recent months.

“For this we also give credit to the Lanao del Sur provincial police and the Police Regional Office in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” Sobejana said.

The office of Adiong, Lanao del Sur’s newly elected provincial governor, has organized various events complementing the observance of the peace and consciousness month in the province.

The provincial government has embarked on a "bike for peace tour"  and mural painting in school campuses in the towns of Lanao del Sur to cap off the month-long activity.

“We in the Armed Forces can never accomplish anything in maintaining law and order in troubled areas without the help of local government units, the elected officials and the religious communities,” Sobejana said.

He said he has directed the 103rd Brigade and the 6th ID to also support extensively the environment-protection efforts of the office of Adiong and his administration’s campaign against trafficking of narcotics in Lanao del Sur.

An inter-agency oversight committee led by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-BARMM last week  named Calanogas town “drug cleared,” the first from among Lanao del Sur’s 39 towns.


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