COTABATO CITY — Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Mendoza and other officials are optimistic of regional peace and progress in 2023 citing the gains in Malacañang’s peace process in Mindanao.
Mendoza said on Saturday, December 31, she and her constituent mayors are pleased to see President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. sustaining the government peace programs for southern communities which was started by his predecessors.
There are Moro communities in some of Cotabato’s 17 towns where there are government-recognized enclaves of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Both fronts have separate peace agreements with the national government.
“The Army units in Region 12 facilitated the surrender of many members of the New People’s Army (NPA) since January. I can feel more are to come out in 2023 to avail of the government’s reconciliation program for NPAs,” Mendoza said.
Mendoza, the chairperson of the multi-sector Regional Development Council 12, said she is also optimistic of the continuing rebound of Region 12’s economy from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cotabato Rep. Samantha Santos on Saturday said she is ready to focus on legislation essential to the peace and security efforts in her province of state security entities.
Mayors in Cotabato province, among them Evangeline Pascua-Guzman of Kabacan, said Santos has been involving the Moro and Christian sectors and the indigenous people in the peacebuilding programs of her office.
Army Major Gen. Roy Galido, commander of the 6th Infantry Division, who is to assume anytime soon as chief of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said he will see to it that his successor shall continue the 6th ID’s peace efforts that have resulted in the surrender of more than a hundred members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), the Dawlah Islamiya, and the NPA in recent months.
“Credit for the surrender of these enemies of state goes to the provincial governors, the mayors, the vice mayors, the traditional leaders, and peace advocacy groups in areas inside 6th ID’s area of responsibility,” Galido said.