LGUs, 6th ID unite to ensure security of investment hubs

John Unson - Philstar.com
LGUs, 6th ID unite to ensure security of investment hubs
The Army's 6th Infantry Division covers neighboring Bangsamoro and Region 12 provinces and cities in central Mindanao.
Philstar.com / John Unson

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — The Army’s 6th Infantry Division and local government units are to expand cooperation in securing the surrender of more local terrorists to sustain the peace spreading around now in potential investment destinations in provinces under its jurisdiction.

Two provincial governors, Emmylou Taliño Mendoza of Cotabato and Reynaldo Tamayo of South Cotabato, are among local officials who assured to help reintroduce to mainstream society former members of the outlawed Dawlah Islamiya, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the New People’s Army who had pledged allegiance to the government.

Major Gen. Alex Rillera, commander of 6th ID, said on Sunday that they have intensified reaching out to the few remaining members of the Dawlah Islamiya and the BIFF to make them understand that while Army units in Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat provinces are active in anti-terror tactical maneuvers, military camps in all six areas are open to terrorists wishing to surrender.

“These efforts of the 6th ID, the provincial governors and the mayors are meant to sustain the noticeable improvements now in the economy of the provinces and cities being secured by units of our division,” Rillera said.

Rillera said Tamayo, chairperson of the South Cotabato provincial peace and order council, helped the 6th ID reintegrate to the local communities almost 80 Dawlah Islamiya, BIFF and NPA members from across his province who had surrendered in batches in 2023.

Tamayo said on Sunday that his administration is also keen on inviting local and foreign capitalists to put up viable agricultural projects in hinterlands that the 6th ID had cleared from NPA presence in the past three years.

In its yearend report dispatched to media outfits in central Mindanao last month, the 6th ID said its units had neutralized 535 Dawlah Islamiya, BIFF and NPA members in field engagements last year. The report was corroborated by mayors in towns where soldiers and members of the three groups figured in deadly gunfights.

The 6th ID, the Region 12 and the Bangsamoro regional police offices and LGUs in central Mindanao had worked out the surrender of 914 Dawlah Islamiya, BIFF and NPA members in the past 12 months.

Mendoza, who is chairperson of the Regional Development Council-12, said she and her constituent-mayors are glad with the fragile peace now in the 63 Bangsamoro barangays in Cotabato that are inside Region 12, but are administratively under the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“We have seen the surrender of so many enemies of the government from these 63 barangays in the past 24 months. These areas are now safe for big agricultural projects that can provide employment for local residents,” Mendoza said.

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