ISABELA CITY, Basilan (April 17, 2018) – In a bid to combat terrorism in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the regional government launched the Program Against Violent Extremism (PAVE) here on Tuesday.
PAVE is the regional government’s first model program in providing various interventions to former Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members who surrendered to the government, and their families.
It will also cater to returnees from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman noted that the said program is recognized by the National Peace and Order Council (NPOC), and will officially be part of the national government’s reintegration program dubbed as CLIP or Comprehensive Local Integration Program – a program aimed at achieving permanent and peaceful closure of all armed conflicts with non-state groups.
Hataman said the ARMM government is committed to do all the necessary measures to address violent extremism. The program’s core principles are to bridge social gaps, balance the military and non-military offensives, and attain justice.
“Marami na tayong pinagdaanan pero walang sustainable na solution kaya inaasahan po natin na itong programa ay magiging daan at simula ng permanenteng kapayapaan dito sa ARMM,” Hataman said.
Hataman said after being processed by the local government unit (LGU)s and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the surrendering Abu Sayyaf members will be endorsed to the ARMM government for the needed psychosocial, economic, educational and spiritual interventions.
“And we will allow them to live as normal and productive citizens in their communities, and they will be the advocates for peace against violent extremism,” he said, adding that the cycle of violence must end.
The program seeks to prevent returnees from going back, provide an opportunity to start anew, encourage more ASGs to surrender, provide an avenue for healing, and increase grassroots support to countering violent extremism.
“Ang pinaka-goal naman talaga ng programang ito ay sumuko na lahat ng mga Abu Sayyaf, at naway dumating ang araw na wala ng mga rebelde sa buong rehiyon,” he said.
The returnees will automatically be the recipients of the regional government’s banner programs – ARMM’s Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance, and Synergy (ARMM-HELPS) and ARMM’s Bangsamoro Regional Inclusive Development with Growth and Equity (ARMM-BRIDGE).
“We made sure na lahat ng mga sumukong Abu Sayyaf na may mga pending cases ay hindi magiging benepisyaryo ng programang ito,” Hataman said.
Returnee Wiril Muril said: “Dati ang daming pangako sa amin, dati puro salita lang pero ngayon ramdam na mas magandang mabuhay nang payapa at mas nararamdaman na namin na handang tumulong ang gobyerno sa amin.”
Col. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Army’s 104th Brigade based here, said Basilan will be “the model of the program that will help solve violent extremism in Mindanao.”
PAVE will also be launched in the provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. There are 139 ASG returnees in Basilan, 61 in Sulu and 23 in Tawi-Tawi.
Four BIFF members also surrendered in the province of Maguindanao.
The regional government has called on members of the rebel groups to peacefully surrender and take advantage of the government’s offer for them to start a new life.
SOURCE: (Bureau of Public Information)
April 17, 2018 @ 17:30