PH Army officially declares Sulu province Abu Sayyaf-free
MANILA, Philippines — The province of Sulu is officially declared free from the influence of Abu Sayyaf Group, the Philippine Army said on Thursday.
The Sulu Provincial Task Force in Ending Local Armed Conflict made the official declaration during the 3rd Quarter 2023 Provincial Peace and Order Council Meeting held at Barangay Bangkal in Patikul town on Wednesday.
Major General Ignatius Patrimonio, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, said the latest development was made possible through the voluntary surrender of 966 members of the group as well as the recovery of 559 firearms in 52 villages in the province.
“This declaration is a significant milestone,” said Patrimonio in a statement.
“This will bring forth development and will boost the eco-tourism of the province,” he added.
For his part, Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan said that this development brings an “immense pride” in the region.
“This event marks a significant accomplishment in our never ending quest for stability, security, and peace,” Tan was quoted as saying.
“Let us keep cooperating to create a community that respects harmony, diversity, and development,” he added.
A breakaway of the Moro National Liberation Front, the ASG was founded by Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani in 1991.
The first batch of ASG fighters only began surrendering in 2016, according to a paper published by the National Defense College of the Philippines.