Maguindanao eyes more projects in conflict-affected areasPosted on
COTABATO CITY – The provincial government of Maguindanao will invest in infrastructure development in four adjoining municipalities being used as a breeding ground for violent extremism.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu said he was referring to the neighboring towns of Shariff Aguak, Pagatin (Datu Saudi), Mamasapano, and Salibo where the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) mainly operate.
Referred by the military as the “SPMS” box, the adjoining towns’ 220,000-hectare Liguasan marshland has become the rendezvous point of the Islamic State-inspired BIFF in launching planned attacks against military and police installations in the province.
“However, with communities slowly realizing government services in the Liguasan area nowadays, the BIFF would have no place to operate soon,” Mangudadatu said.
Aside from infrastructure, the provincial government is pouring in funds for livelihood, education, and health assistance in an effort to win the support of the local populace.
“It is also important to have these projects implemented in the province’s conflict-affected communities to let the constituents feel that the government is working for them,” he said.
Mangudadatu said he hopes that through these projects, the local populace will support the municipal and provincial governments to make their communities more peaceful and developed.
Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, proposed during Thursday’s peace and order council meeting in Buluan town that every “purok” (district) in the SPMS box should have “tipsters.”
Sobejana said these “tipsters” would alert police and military authorities on the presence of lawless elements in their villages.
Mangudadatu agreed to Sobejana’s proposal and promised to distribute mobile phones to “tipsters”, as well as implement a compensation scheme to encourage locals to help the government in its anti-terror and anti-drugs campaigns.-PNA