A road project is being implemented in the former lairs of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group in Basilan province to hasten restoration of normalcy in the farming enclaves ruined by the conflicts, the provincial government said.
The project is being built from Mahatallang area in Sumisip to the adjoining Punoh Lumot and Punoh Timugen at the Sampinit Complex.
The local government said Mahatallang was originally a resettlement site for the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) combatants who availed of the government’s reconciliation program in the 1970s, but whose families were forced to relocate to safer areas as the Abu Sayyaf used the hinterlands in the Sampinit Complex as “springboard for satanic acts and as harboring area for kidnap victims, many of them beheaded for non-payment of ransom.”
It said there is now “fragile peace” in the neigboring Mahatallang and Limbotulan areas, the gateways to Sampinit Complex.
This was after the surrender of over 200 Abu Sayyaf members in Basilan in the past two years through the intercession of the provincial government and the Program Against Violent Extremism or PAVE of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
“The former terrorists, some of them adolescents, have been reintegrated into the local communities,” the local government said.
The areas where the project is being implemented are “bouncing back” through the joint peace initiatives of the local executives, the miltiary’s Western Mindanao Command, and the Philippine National Police, it added.