ZAMBOANGA CITY – Local officials of the Sulu town of Indanan declared Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits persona non grata during a peace covenant Tuesday afternoon.
In a statement Wednesday, the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) said Indanan Mayor Hermot Jikiri led town officials in denouncing the ASG bandits.
“We are declaring these terrorists as persona non grata here in Indanan and we vow to support the military, police, and other security agencies in bringing lasting peace and progress in our beloved municipality,” the Westmincom quoted Jikiri as saying.
Jikiri also announced initiatives to strengthen “public safety, security, and well-being in the municipality.”
The Westmimcom also quoted Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan as lauding the initiative of Indanan officials.
“We need to gain the people’s support because in unity there is strength. Let us take what (US) President (Jimmy) Carter once said: ‘With the people, you can never lose; without the people, you can never win’,” Tan said.
“This peace covenant is for us all, for “Lupah Sug”, and for the “Bangsa Sug”. Never did we have this kind of peace covenant signing in the past. Now is the time for us to unite. We, leaders, elders, barangay officials, local government units, the AFP, the PNP, religious leaders, and the people must all unite,” Tan added.
Brig. Gen. William Gonzales, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, noted that Indanan is the second town that declared the ASG bandits as persona non grata.
Town officials of Patikul led by Mayor Kabir Hayudini also declared the bandits unwelcome in late August.
Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said peace can be attained if they (stakeholders) will let “synergy work out and bring forth significant breakthroughs.”
“I would like to extend my appreciation to our committed partners for your trust and support to the military and other security agencies. Convergence will continue to substantiate our peace efforts and lead to a brighter future for the Suluanons,” Vinluan said. (PNA)