ARMM leads turnover of former Abu Sayyaf camp in Basilan
Isabela City (September 19, 2016) – Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao witnessed a turnover ceremony marking the restoration of government authority in a former Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) stronghold in Barangay Baguindan, Tipo-Tipo, Basilan on Sunday morning, September 18.
The military overran the said ASG camp on 12 August as part of the government crackdown against the terror group.
Lt. Col. Ernest John Jadloc, battalion commander of the 74th Infantry Battalion (IB) said the camp was seized after a month of operations involving members of the 18th Infantry Battalion, 64th Infantry Battalion, Scout Rangers, and Special Forces.
The operations are also meant to bring back government authority and social services in areas overran by the said terror group.
Governor Hataman called for unity in achieving long lasting peace as he spoke to hundreds of residents present in the event.
“It’s about time for this place (Barangay Baguindan) to receive various programs and projects from the government,” Hataman said as he vowed to pour projects in conflict-affected areas, especially Barangay Baguindan.
“Ang Baguindan ay para sa Baguindan. Nandito kami para protektahan ang mga tao dito (Baguindan is for Baguindan. We are here to protect the people),” he added.
Mayor Arcam Istarul of Tipo-Tipo town expressed his gratitude to the government and security forces who neutralized the lawless elements in their area.
“We will help the people of Baguindan through livelihood projects,” Istarul said.
Baguindan’s barangay chief Bisahari Hantian said in Yakan, the local language, “Mabayah kami sanyang lahat kami (We want our place to be a peaceful one).”
Saida Abubakar, 57, a resident of the barangay, said that they are glad that the government never forgot them throughout the ordeal.
“Sana po ito na talaga ang umpisa ng pagbangon ng lugar namin. Sapat na po ang mahigit 40 years na pauli-ulit kaming nag-eevacuate (We really hope this is the start of our community’s recovery. Forty years of constant evacuation is enough),” Abubakar added.
After the ceremony, the ARMM government conducted a People’s Day to provide free services such as medical consultation and check-ups, along with the distribution of hygiene kits.
Present during the event were ARMM Regional Vice-Governor Haroun Alrashid Lucman Jr., Anak Mindanao partylist representative Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman, and other ARMM officials.
The region’s humanitarian emergency action response team (ARMM-HEART) provided also relief packs to 1,574 families in Barangay Baguindan and Barangay Silangkum and in Al-Barka town. (Bureau of Public Information)