By Sweet Lucman

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, June 18 (PIA-ICCC) – As part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) program to prevent and counter violent extremism, the  103rd Infantry “Haribon” Brigade has brought its “peace projects” to Barangay Padas in Pagayawan town and Sultan Dumalundong municipality in Lanao del Sur.

These peace projects include providing playground sets and educational programs for the children as well as livelihood programs for the communities.

It can be recalled that it was in Barangay Padas where Abu Dar sought refuge while hiding from military operations and, at the same time, recruited some locals to join ISIS.

Out of 163 Maute returnees, three came from Barangay Padas, BGen Romeo Brawner Jr. said, adding  “there are still five more members being convinced to surrender to the government.”

The 103rd brigade has partnered with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in this project since the the 101 Base Command of the MILF is there.

BGen Brawner also disclosed that it was MILF fighters who first tried the playground sets, the first playground faciltieis in the barangay.

“Sir, first time po naming ma experience ito (It’s our first time to experience this),” an MILF member said.

Brawner said the AFP would also do the same to Sultan Dumalundong town where members of Maute-IS are sighted. An encounter between the Maute-IS group and the AFP occurred in January in the two municipalities. “So we would like to make the communities part of the solution,” Brawner explained.

It is the main reason of the AFP to make the community as part of the solution and  sometimes such communities are the MILF community, Brawner added.

The USAID, on the others hand, constructed a water system in Barangay Padas complete with solar panels to be able to pump and store water in the tank to give the residents safe and clean drinking water.

“Pag nagtulong-tulong ang gobyerno at ang mga partners, at mismong kumunidad, mas lalong nagkakaroon ng solusyon sa mga problema (If the government, its partners and community will help, we can find solutions to the problem). And this will eventually bring peace and order in a community,“ Brawner concluded. (Sweet Lucman /PIA-ICCC)