Military, MILF conduct peace mission in former Maute lair

Cris Angelo Andrade, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 09 2019 10:40 AM

Residents, soldiers, the MILF and an advocacy group take part in a peace mission in Pagayawan, Lanao Del Sur. ABS-CBN News

Residents, soldiers, the MILF and an advocacy group take part in a peace mission in Pagayawan, Lanao Del Sur. ABS-CBN News

Residents, soldiers, the MILF and an advocacy group take part in a peace mission in Pagayawan, Lanao Del Sur. ABS-CBN News

Residents, soldiers, the MILF and an advocacy group take part in a peace mission in Pagayawan, Lanao Del Sur. ABS-CBN News

Residents, soldiers, the MILF and an advocacy group take part in a peace mission in Pagayawan, Lanao Del Sur. ABS-CBN News

PAGAYAWAN, Lanao Del Sur -- The military and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Saturday distributed aid in a far-flung village in this southern town, to curb the influence of the Islamic State-inspired Maute group here. 

Sitio Acasia in Barangay Padas became a "hotbed" of Maute recruitment after the group's 5-month siege of neighboring Marawi City in 2017, said LtCol. Ian Noel P. Ignes, commander of the military's 55th Infantry Batallion. 

Abu Dar, a siege leader who went on to become the supposed emir of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia, also hid in the village before he was killed in an encounter with state troops last March, said Ignes. 

The 55th Infantry Battalion has since taken control of the area, which is also home to members of the MILF, whose leaders head an autonomous Muslim region created earlier this year. 

The military, MILF and civilian organizations put up a swing, slide and monkey in Barangay Padas, which they hope could prevent children's involvement in violent extremism. 

Advocacy group Teach Peace Build Peace also facilitated "peace" games among children, who were given food, slippers and school supplies. 

“Ang mahalaga ngayon pinapakita natin sa taongbayan, lalong-lalo na sa community ng MILF na, we are one with them and after the signing of Bangsamoro Organic Law and plebiscite where the BOL is ratified, ay talagang kasama na natin sila sa gobyerno sa layunin na magkaroon ng kapayapaan sa lugar na ito,” said BGen. Romeo Brawner Jr. of the 103rd Infantry Brigade. 

(What's important is we show the public, especially the MILF community, that we are one with them and after the signing of Bangsamoro Organic Law and plebiscite where the BOL is ratified, they are really now part of the government in the goal of bringing peace to this area.)