BARMM holds first peace and order council meeting
The first ever meeting of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao regional peace and order council in Cotabato City lasted for four hours.
John Unson
BARMM holds first peace and order council meeting
John Unson ( - March 13, 2019 - 12:44pm

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — The Abu Sayyaf is still the top threat to security in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, authorities reported to BARMM officials Tuesday.

Representatives from the Western Mindanao Command and the police took turns briefing Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, the region’s interim chief minister, on security issues besetting the BARMM during its first ever regional peace and order council meeting on Tuesday.

Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division told Ebrahim that the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters is also a concern the military is trying to address with the help of local government units in Maguindanao province.

Police and military officials pointed out in their separate RPOC briefings that while the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan has tactically been marginalized, its forces in Sulu remained a serious problem that the WestMinCom and the Police Regional Office-BARMM are both trying to neutralize.

No representatives from Sulu

No one from the provincial government of Sulu attended BARMM’s RPOC conference at the Bajau Hall in Ebrahim’s office inside the 23-hectare regional capitol here.

Basilan Gov. Jim Salliman, Lamitan City Vice Mayor Roderick Furigay and representatives from the office of the provincial governors in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur were present in the event.

Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan II and his patriarch, Abdusakur, Sr., campaigned against the ratification via a plebiscite in January 21 of BARMM’s charter, the Republic Act 11054, or the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

Col. Romeo Brawner, commander of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade in Marawi City, told Ebrahim that extensive efforts to nip the Maute terror group in Lanao del Sur from the bud are also underway.

He said there have been considerable successes in their campaign against the Maute, achieved with the support of the police and local officials.

Brawner confirmed that the group, which instigated the deadly May 23 to August 16, 2017 conflict in Marawi City, is now led by Owaida Marohombsar, more known as Abu Dar.

Brawner said dozens of Maute terrorists have surrendered in recent months through the joint intercession of the police, the military and local officials in Marawi City and in Lanao del Sur province.

Sobejana and Chief Superintendent Graciano Mijares, director of the Bangsamoro regional police, separately told The STAR, at the sidelines of the BARMM security conference, that they are confident of more achievements in their pacification thrusts soon now that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is at the helm of the newly-established regional government.

Ebrahim, appointed BARMM chief minister and head of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, is chairman of the MILF central committee.

The MILF and Malacañang are bound by security compacts and two peace deals, the 2012 Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro and the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro, to mutually cooperate in maintaining law and order in conflict flashpoint areas in BARMM’s territory.

The Abu Sayyaf, the BIFF and the Maute, all using the ISIS flag as revolutionary banner, have been trying to undermine the now 23-year peace overture between the national government and the MILF.

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