Cognizant of the danger posed by terrorism in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), officials are eyeing the conduct of a summit for local government units (LGUs) in a bid to deter the entry of religious extremism in the communities.
“We do not know yet how serious the problem of extremism in the region is at this moment, but we cannot afford to wait for the situation to worsen,” ARMM Interior and Local Government Secretary Noor Hafizullah Abdullah said during a press briefing morning.
He identified the Abu Sayyaf Group in the island – provinces of Sulu and Basilan, the Maute terror group in Lanao del Sur, and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Maguindanao as the major threats to the peace and stability of the region.
Abdullah noted that Lanao del Sur “has the biggest number so far of active militants focusing on the propagation of extremism.”
He said the decision to bring down the issue to the LGUs came after the Dawla Islamiya (Moro extremists) which pledged allegiance to the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria, issued a statement threatening the 400-strong ulama or islamic scholars who attended the may 12-14 summit against terrorism.
The three-day “ulama summit against terrorism” was an initial step of the armm government to enlist the support of islamic scholars to combat terrorism.
Abdullah said the conduct of a “localized” summit for the region’s 116 municipalities and two cities is to further strengthen the role of the lgus in the promotion of peace and security.
The municipal-level summit would synchronize measures on how to restrain not just terrorism but also criminality and illegal drugs, which also affect the peace and order situation in the region.
He said the LGUs should be at the forefront of the battle against terrorism.
The armm comprises the provinces of maguindanao, sulu, tawi-tawi, lanao del sur and basilan, and the cities of Marawi and Lamitan. EOF/PNA