Lamitan City declared free from Abu Sayyaf

Roel Pareño - The Philippine Star
Lamitan City declared free from Abu Sayyaf
More than a dozen firearms were voluntarily surrendered to the police and military by residents of Lamitan City during their mayor's state of the city report activity on June 18, 2024.
Photo courtesy of Philstar.com / John Unson

LAMITAN CITY, Basilan, Philippines — Business opportunities and development are expected to rise in this city after the local government declared Lamitan free from Abu Sayyaf bandits.

Mayor Roderick Furigay made the declaration during his state of the city report held at the Lamitan City hall complex in Barangay Maganda yesterday.

Furigay cited several developments that the city achieved under his administration as basis for the declaration.

“This is a very significant milestone, the declaration of Lamitan City as Abu Sayyaf-free,” Furigay said.

He said preparations are ongoing for the construction of infrastructure projects including business establishments, port expansion and concreting of roads in almost all 45 barangays.

Furigay said plans to build an airport in the city are underway.

He thanked Basilan Gov. Hajiman Hataman-Salliman for leading local government units in declaring an all-out war against against the Abu Sayyaf.

Lamitan was the second local government unit in Basilan to make the declaration, followed by the town of Akbar.

The municipality of Lantawan was the first to make a similar declaration two weeks ago.

The declarations technically cleared Basilan from the presence of the bandit group.

During the event, Salliman recalled how Basilan was portrayed as the capital of kidnapping, bombing and extortion as well as of Abu Sayyaf.

Brig. Gen. Alvin Luzon, chief of the Army’s 101st Brigade, said Basilan was technically cleared from the Abu Sayyaf as more municipalities are preparing to make their own declarations.

“After all the towns have made the declaration, we will declare Basilan Abu Sayyaf-free,” Luzon said.

He said the security sector could now focus on addressing the remaining clan war or family feud in Basilan. — John Unson

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