CAMP SANG-AN, ZDS – Almost two weeks after the clash between the Army’s 51st Infantry Battalion (51IB) and the Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute Group (DI-MG) in the mountains of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte, evacuees have now returned to their homes.
Army units have assisted the local government units (LGUs) of Munai and Tangcal in managing the situation at the designated evacuation areas, where almost 450 families temporarily left their homes at the height of the encounter.
In Munai, the 47 affected families returned to their homes two days after the incident.
Lt. Col. Rommel M. Pereña, Commanding Officer of the 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, coordinated with Mayor Racma D. Andamama of Munai and presented the series of activities that the battalion plans to conduct on Tuesday, August 31.
According to Pereña, they will conduct a lecture on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) and Stress Debriefing, feeding program, relief goods distribution, and other fun activities for the kids.
Meanwhile, the 5th Mechanized Infantry Battalion under Lt. Col. Julius C. Librada intensified their civil-military operations activities in Tangcal, Lanao del Norte.
“As part of the unit’s “Saludo ng Kapayapaan” project, we distributed items/gifts to more or less 100 children at the evacuation centers in Tangcal,” said Librada.
Librada had a peace dialogue with the LGU officials headed by Hon. Hadjah Fatima M. Tomawis, Tangcal municipal mayor. He enjoined them to cooperate with the military, not foster the armed group and report them to the authorities instead.
The 5th Mech also provided security for the safe passage of the READi-BARMM Assistance Center and the Philippine National Red Cross during the transport of relief goods to the evacuation centers.
According to Mayor Tomawis, the military has their full support and will do their share to help their constituents, especially those affected by the armed engagement.
“The DI-MG has no place in Tangcal,” said Tomawis. “We vow to denounce any terrorist who will seek refuge in our province.”
One of the evacuees expressed that although they were displaced for a while, they understand the situation and the role of the Army in providing them a safe and peaceful environment free from terror.
Maj. Gen. Gene M. Ponio extended his appreciation to the LGU officials for their continued support of the government’s peace programs and their commitment to implementing the EO 70, the whole-of-nation approach to attain inclusive and sustainable peace in Lanao provinces.
As of writing, 20 families in Tangcal who were displaced have not returned to their homes as they are staying with their relatives.