BASILAN (DWDD) – The situation now in Basilan is more manageable compared to previous years due to the large improvement in security and development.
This was the assessment made by Brigadier General Juvymax Uy, Commander, Joint Task Force Basilan.
Admittedly, Basilan is very influential to various armed groups since the former emir of the IS in Southeast Asia, Isnilon Hapilon, is from Eastern Basilan, and was also a former leader of the IS-inspired terror group Abu Sayyaf.
But the death of Hapilon in Marawi proved to be a big blow to these armed groups and is contributary to the improvement of the security situation in the province. The fight against the remnants of the ASG in the province has shifted from pure military efforts to a fight of the AFP together with the Local Government Units up to the Barangay level.
BGen Uy attributed the success of this shift to the previous area commanders and now AFP Chief of Staff Gen Carlito Galvez and Philippine Army Commanding General Bautista.
“it cannot only be attributed under my leadership but it can also be attributed during the time of Chief of Staff Gen Galvez, CGPA Gen Bautista at kung tiignan mo po minana ko na lang ang kanilang naunang ginawa sa Basilan and then I continued the good deeds in the past, ipingpatuloy ko lang.” said BGen Uy.
BGen Uy added that remaining ASG members in the province are no longer safe because they have lost most of their influence. In fact, their province mates are turning on them and are reporting to authorities their whereabouts and activities. Their Provincial Government has led the fight against terrorism.
With the influx of ASG surrenderees, their leadership (leaders and sub-leaders) have collapsed. Testament to this is that: First, there was no ASG recruitment in province for the past year; and, second, no incident of kidnapping for more than a year. The last kidnapping incident was recorded March 2017, but it was immediately resolved.
Tourism has also increased, last year they were able to register 1,000 visitors in the first quarter then it swelled to 4,000 or a 300% increase.
The people’s response to the reshaping of Basilan was very positive. Their LGUs has been awarded twice for the Seal of Good Governance. AES