ZAMBOANGA CITY: Sulu Gov. Totoh Tan renewed his call on the people and urged citizens to support government efforts in anti-terrorism campaign.
Tan made the appeal following a security meeting at the Capitol in Patikul town attended by senior military officials, municipal mayors and representatives of various sectors in Sulu.
“I urged everybody and all stakeholders and partners to actively engage and get involved, and have a sense of concern for the environment and the welfare of the people and sustain development, social justices and human security,” he said in a telephone interview.
Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the anti-terror Joint Task Force Sulu, briefed Tan and those who attended the meeting on the operations of the military against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) that recently abducted six people in the province.
The military and the provincial government are also drafting an action plan for psycho-social interventions for 30 Abu Sayyaf fighters who have surrendered to authorities.
Security officers also said the military is closely working with the former rebel group Moro National Liberation Front and its rival Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in pursuing peace initiatives in the province.
Six soldiers were recently killed and four others wounded in a clash with ASG militants and MILF rebels in Basilan province.
The MILF accused the soldiers of encroaching into its territory that triggered a firefight. The allegation was denied by security officials who claimed Abu Sayyaf gunmen ambushed the infantrymen securing the circumferential road in Sumisip town.
Both Sulu and Basilan are under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman and Public Works Secretary Don Loong and Health Secretary Kadil Sinolinding Jr. were also in Sulu and discussed with Tan various infrastructure projects and health programs for the province.
Hataman said they launched a P400-million port expansion project in the capital town of Jolo and a medical mission in Sulu.