Two personnel of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH ARMM) were killed while building infrastructure projects for the people of the ARMM.
An Abu Sayyaf gunman stood in the middle of the Basilan Circumferential Road and shot a DPWH ARMM dump truck and a transit mixer with an M203 assault rifle, killing the drivers of both heavy equipment vehicles. Two more DPWH ARMM personnel who were with the slain drivers are in the intensive care unit, fighting for their lives.
Even as we mourn these deaths, we condemn the attack on them and the assaults on the personnel of the ARMM who have been working to ensure that government services are delivered well so a lasting peace may become a reality here. The perpetrators of these acts of violence hamper our efforts for the development of the region.
The Abu Sayyaf persists in attacking the ARMM government’s ongoing construction of arterial road networks in Basilan. It has been doing this since 2012, because these roads enable law enforcement and military personnel and their vehicles easier access to the Abu Sayyaf lairs on the island.
These roads the DPWH ARMM are building are vital to connecting the communities in our region and facilitating growth and development that will offer our people better opportunities for prosperity and peace.
The DPWH ARMM builds so development can reach the most isolated and poorest communities—even if our district engineer has been attacked twice with hand grenades, even as the department has been subjected to numerous threats, and attempts at extortion.
We remain firm in our determination to continue building the infrastructure our people need. Yes, we grieve, but these attacks will not deter the ARMM regional government from continuing efforts to provide the infrastructure and vital services our people need.