Cotabato City, Philippines: Defense Secretary Jose Faustino, Jr. has committed support to rehabilitate former Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members in Basilan who have returned to the fold of law.
During a meeting on Monday, September 12, Basilan Governor Jim Salliman and Faustino discussed the partnership to further the national government’s reconciliation programs for enemies of state — the New People’s Army (NPA) and other terrorist groups.
“It was a fruitful meeting,” Salliman said on Wednesday.
Faustino, in a statement released on Tuesday, acknowledged the accomplishments of the multi-sector Basilan Provincial Peace and Order Council in addressing violent religious extremism in the province.
More than 300 Abu Sayyaf members in Basilan have pledged allegiance to the government in batches in the past six years through the joint efforts of elected and traditional leaders in the province, the Army’s 101st Infantry Brigade and the Basilan Provincial Police Office.
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He assured Salliman of the support of the Department of National Defense (DND) to all domestic the peace and security programs of the provincial government and the mayors of the 11 towns and two cities in the province. (John Unson)