By Apipa P. Bagumbaran
MARAWI CITY, Sep. 2 (PIA) – The Islamic City of Marawi as well as nine municipalities and 378 villages in Lanao del Sur have organized their respective task force against insurgency as their share in bringing terrorism to its conclusion.
LtCol. Rafman Altre, commanding officer of the 82nd Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army, said eight municipalities and 252 barangay councils which are under the area of operations of the 82nd IB have, in the past three months, created their respective task forces to end local armed conflict (ELAC) and passed their resolutions denouncing the communist terrorist groups (CTG) and the local terrorist groups (LTG).
These municipalities are Kapai, Tagoloan, Piagapo, Balindong, Marantao, Ditsaan-Ramain, Bubong, and Buadipuso-Buntong.
Following these towns in declaring the CTG and LTG as persona non-grata are Marawi City and the municipality of Saguiaran which conducted a joint mass condemnation rites against the CTG and LTG at the Provincial Capitol Gym on August 27.
“Terrorism is not a military problem alone, the factors that fuel terrorism need to be addressed by civil authorities especially the local government units (LGUs),” cited LtCol. Altre during the joint mass condemnation rites.
He noted that although the Philippine Army has the capability to neutralize terrorists, it is the concerted effort and united concern of the LGUs that will erase the idea of terrorism in their communities.
In response, Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra expressed that the city government and its 96 barangays will work together with the police and the military in putting an end to terrorism.
Saguiaran Municipal Mayor Hafis Muti also shared the same commitment as he urged the chairpersons of the 30 barangays in his municipality to help in the fight against terrorism and to be vigilant in keeping their villages safe from terrorist groups.
In 2018, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued Executive Order No. 70 that institutionalizes a whole-of-nation approach to synchronize the efforts in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace.
“With the EO 70 of President Duterte, the national level has organized the Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict or ELCAC that focuses on neutralizing the CTG. Even if there is no concrete mechanism yet for countering the LTG, the national government is aligning the provisions under the ELCAC for CTG and ELAC for LTG into one with the end view of a sustainable strategy to defeat all forms of terrorism,” LtCol. Altre added. (APB/PIA-ICIC)