Basilan town declared ASG, rido-free

ZAMBOANGA. Mayor Alih Sali of Akbar, Basilan province (clad in Yakan weaved cloth), and Brigadier General Alvin Luzon, 101st Infantry Brigade commander (right) lead the unveiling of a Peace Marker in a ceremony declaring the municipality as Abu Sayyaf Group-free and Rido-free on Tuesday, June 18. The marker was unveiled as a symbolic act of the municipality’s new status.
ZAMBOANGA. Mayor Alih Sali of Akbar, Basilan province (clad in Yakan weaved cloth), and Brigadier General Alvin Luzon, 101st Infantry Brigade commander (right) lead the unveiling of a Peace Marker in a ceremony declaring the municipality as Abu Sayyaf Group-free and Rido-free on Tuesday, June 18. The marker was unveiled as a symbolic act of the municipality’s new status. (SunStar Zamboanga)

THE municipality of Akbar in Basilan province has been declared as Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)-free and rido-free.

The declaration was made on Tuesday, June 18, in a ceremony headed by Akbar Mayor Alih Sali, who chairs the Municipal Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (MTF-Elac) and witnessed by officials of government and military, including representatives of other sectors.

The event also featured the participation of the National Security Command of the Moro National Liberation Front led by Basser Basta, underscoring solidarity and broad support for the municipality's peace initiatives.

The Army’s 101st Infantry Brigade said in a statement that the declaration marked a significant milestone in the town’s journey towards lasting peace and development.

The brigade said that a significant part of the ceremony was the presentation of nine surrendered loose firearms by village chairpersons, which included carbines, grenade launchers, and rifles — a powerful testament to the town’s commitment to peace and progress.

During the ceremony, a Peace Marker was unveiled in a symbolic act of the municipality’s new status, while white doves and balloons were released, representing the promise of peace and hope.

"The declaration of Akbar as both ASG-free and rido-free marks a pivotal moment in our pursuit of lasting peace. Our collective efforts have made this possible, and together, we will continue to ensure a safe and prosperous future for all Basilenos,” Brigadier General Alvin Luzon, 101st Infantry Brigade commander, said.

Luzon said the declaration is part of broader efforts of the Brigade's campaign to address sources of conflict in Basilan, including the resolution of clan feuds and the promotion of the Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) program.

The program aims to foster reconciliation and unity and reduce the proliferation of illegal firearms in the province. (SunStar Zamboanga)

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