By Nonoy E. Lacson
Zamboanga City — Local officials, traditional leaders, and security forces were urged to unite in combating violent extremism in Mindanao.
Armed Forces of the Philippines, Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) Commander Lt Gen Carlito Galvez Jr., said measures on counter-terrorism were discussed in a meeting with the Lanao del Sur Provincial Peace and Order Council held at Limketkai Luxe Hotel last week in Cagayan de Oro City.
“We need to harmonize our efforts into one goal this time – to fix what violent extremism has broken and to prevent it from spreading and creating further destruction,” Galvez said.
“We have to keep in mind that violent extremism is a global menace and it needs to be addressed by all sectors of society. It could be anywhere. It could be already creeping within our homes, our communities. It could be right under our noses, we just might not have any clue that it is there already,” he emphasized.
Galvez also lauded the efforts of the local government units as they push for initiatives that seek to support the military and police in countering violent extremism in Mindanao.
The military further urged unity among the Ulama, the Sultanate, traditional leaders and the local government units in the province.
He also encouraged the local chief executives to be responsible in their respective communities especially on issues of security.
He urged them to establish and develop their respective municipal defense even in the absence of police powers through constant and close coordination with the AFP and PNP units within their areas.
The council proposed to propagate mainstream Islamic moderation, putting the resolution in the hands of Muslim traditional leaders, the Ulama, and the community.
According to Galvez, local officials urged that strong ties must be established by the government with the different sectors, non-governmental organizations, and influential figures as they rally for efforts to educate the Muslim youth and discourage radicalism.
Galvez presented a briefing on the comprehensive plan of the Armed Forces in its role on the “road to normalcy.”
The group also discussed the stability and support operations like the rehabilitation of Marawi City, stakeholder’ engagements, and the normalization timeline.
Also present during the meeting is Undersecretary Cesar Yano, representing the Joint Task Force Bangon Marawi.