BASILAN -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) launched simultaneous medical missions and civic organizational activities on Saturday to help families and followers of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
Several areas in the municipality of Albarka in the province that saw fierce fighting earlier this year have pledged alliances with the military, according to Andrew Bacala, commanding officer of 4th Special Forces Batallion.
In Barangay Bohe Piang, Albarka, different civic organizations from Luzon and in Mindanao have shared their resources to thank the community headed by MNLF Commander “Small Boy.”
He said he has been in Bohe Piang for 50 years and confirmed that bandits belonging to the Abu Sayyaf had frequented their area but they have long abandoned the idea of being one of them.
Doctors in the activity said most children suffer from respiratory problems such as the common flu.
The Children of War Foundation, another advocate of peace in Basilan, donated books, school supplies and sports equipment to Bohe Beggang Elementary School.
Bacala recalled that the school, which only had three classrooms, served as their temporary camp for 36 days while several barangays in Albarka were “attacked” by the Abu Sayyaf in March.
At the time, Bacala said it was the community who assisted them. Bacala said it was because of this commitment that they promised to return and “give back” to the community.
Aside from medical missions, the military also introduced alternative livelihood to farmers in the communities.