COTABATO CITY (John Unson, Sept. 27, 2023) — Officials are looking forward to an easier reintegration to society of hundreds of former Abu Sayyaf members in Sulu via a P25 million worth reformatory center now being constructed in the province.
Army Major Gen. Steve Domin-ong Crespillo, commander of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, said Wednesday they are grateful to the local government ministry of the Bangsamoro government for the project.
“It is essential to the efforts of the military and the Philippine National Police to make these former enemies of state become productive for them to thrive in peace in their barangays in Sulu,” Crespillo told reporters.
Crespillo said the office of Bangsamoro Local Government Minister Naguib Gani Sinarimbo bankrolled the construction of the reformatory center in Barangay Langhub in Patikul, Sulu.
Patikul, one of the 18 towns in Sulu, was the scene of deadly clashes between Abu Sayyaf terrorists and pursuing policemen and soldiers from the 1980s until 2020.
Planners in the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said Wednesday they are expecting the P25 million worth building done completely in about six more weeks.
Sinarimbo, who is also overseeing BARMM’s quick reaction Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence contingent, said the facility shall function as a center for religious reorientation and livelihood education for Abu Sayyaf members who have returned to the fold of law.
The office of Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Mahail Tan, Sr., chairman of the multi-sector provincial peace and order council, and the municipal governments under his administration had worked out the surrender of 518 Abu Sayyaf terrorists and supporters in the past three years, according to records from the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.
Brig. Gen. Allan Cruz Nobleza, director of PRO-BAR, said the reformatory center being built in Patikul will hasten the reintroduction to the local communities of now reforming former Abu Sayyaf terrorists.
He said PRO-BAR is grateful to the MILG-BARMM for having provided in recent months some towns in Sulu with new police station buildings and patrol cars that are needed in their community projects in far-flung areas that were once hotbeds of Abu Sayyaf activities.
In a session early this month, the Sulu peace and order council declared the province “Abu Sayyaf free” via a resolution based on extensive assessments by LGUs and peace-advocacy groups helping the Tan administration maintain law and order in the province. (JOHN UNSON)