AFP says it aims to keep terrorism from urban areas as nation marks end of Marawi siege
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) emphasized its anti terrorism campaign, especially stopping this menace from entering into cities, as the nation commemorates the liberation of Marawi three years ago on Saturday.
"The AFP joins the nation and our people in the continuing fight against terrorism. This is highlighted by the tragic beginning and end of the Siege of Marawi that we commemorate today," Major General Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesman said.
"The Marawi Crisis reminds us that the vigorous campaign should not be focused only on combatting terrorism but more importantly in preventing the menace from invading our communities and cities," he said.
Rebels linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Maute Group fought the military and police who were out to capture Isnilon Hapilon, an Abu Sayyaf leader on May 23.
Battle raged across Marawi City until October 17 when President Rodrigo Duterte declared the city freed from terrorists following the deaths of Hapilon and Omar Maute.
Reports said 978 militants were killed while 168 government troops died while 87 civilians perished in the five-month urban battle.
"The AFP’s Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) campaign which came to fore post liberation of Marawi looks into sectors vulnerable to radicalism and violent extremism such as orphanages, schools, and evacuation centers, among others," he added.
Arevalo said the AFP is working "with other agencies of government like DepEd, DSWD, and LGUs to name a few to empower and capacitance the administrators of these facilities to ward-off terrorists from encroaching into their domains,"
"These strong partnerships and collaborations have proven to be an effective deterrence against attempts by some individuals or groups with links to terrorists groups to radicalize and recruit members from those facilities," he said. Robina Asido/DMS