THE province of Sulu, once known as a hotbed of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), has been declared ASG-free.
The declaration was made through a resolution by the Sulu Provincial Task Force in Ending Local Armed Conflict (PTF-ELAC) during the 3rd quarter Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting at Sulu Area Coordinating Center in Bangkal village, Patikul on Wednesday, September 6, 2023.
Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan, who chairs the PTF-ELAC, proudly made the declaration after the members of the task force unanimously approved the resolution declaring Sulu as ASG-free.
The PTF-ELAC is Sulu’s version of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
“It is my great pleasure and immense pride to declare the Province of Sulu as ASG-Free. This event marks a significant accomplishment in our never-ending quest for stability, security, and peace,” Tan said.
“With the support of our security sector and the community, we can see the improvement in our province. This is the indicator that there is harmony, so we came up with the agreement that Sulu will be declared ASG-free,” he added.
He called for the continued cooperation of everyone in Sulu to create a community that respects harmony, diversity and development.
Prior to the declaration of Sulu as ASG-free, the 19 municipalities of the province have declared their respective towns as ASG-free.
Meanwhile, Major General Ignatius Patrimonio, Joint Task Force (JTF)-Sulu commander, said prior to the declaration, which is a momentous event, they were able to clear 52 ASG-affected villages, which attributed to the voluntary surrender of 966 ASG bandits and recovery of 559 firearms.
“This declaration is a significant milestone as it marks the collective victory of the local government units together with various sectors that work together towards attaining peace and security in Sulu. This will bring forth development and will boost the ecotourism of the province,” Patrimonio said.
“Let us continue to work together to sustain our gains toward our common vision of lasting peace and sustainable development in the province of Sulu,” he added.
The 3rd quarter PPOC meeting was attended by the 19 municipal mayors of Sulu, Police Colonel Narciso Paragas, Sulu Police Provincial Office director, Brigade and Battalion Commanders, and JTF Sulu staff. (SunStar Zamboanga)