THE Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu said its continuous campaign against terrorism has diminished the Abu Sayyaf Group’s (ASG) membership.
Major General William Gonzales, JTF Sulu commander, said their records showed that the number of ASG terrorists has gone down to 132 in the first quarter of 2021 from 282 in 2019.
The number of ASG-initiated violent incidents was reduced to zero from 22 in the same period.
Gonzales presented the data during the meeting between top Mindanao military officials and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm) Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim on May 3, 2021 in Cotabato City.
Gonzales highlighted the success of the Sulu Provincial Task Force in Ending Local Armed Conflict (PTF-ELAC) Balik Barangay Program, which he said facilitated the return of hundreds of internally displaced people to six barangays in Patikul and one barangay in Talipao.
“While some challenges remain for the residents such as the lack of modest shelters, farm to market roads, school buildings, and responsive delivery of basic services, I believe with the help of the Barmm leadership, Sulu will soon re-acquire its old glory as a hub for tourism, fishery, and maritime industry in the region,” Gonzales said. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo / SunStar Philippines)