The government is carrying out a two-pronged approach in dealing with the Abu Sayyaf Group, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Wednesday (Oct. 22).
The President said the government is using military power to crush the
rebel group but is also exerting efforts to develop Mindanao.
The military and the police are implementing security measures to combat
the Abu Sayyaf, especially following the release of the two German
hostages last week, he said.
While military operations are being carried out, the government is also
undertaking peace initiatives in Mindanao, the President said.
“Even before we signed the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro, we have
been trying to show the people of the ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao) the benefits of peace,” he said.
For instance, there are more than 700,000 new enrollees in PhilHealth,
he said, adding that the government's Sajahatra program is transitioning
into a formal institution to give the people livelihood skills so they
could participate in the development of Mindanao.
He further said that the Trade Department has set up markets for the
mangosteen and lanzones produce of Sulu province, hoping this would spur
economic activity not only in Sulu but also in Basilan and Tawi-Tawi.
"We will try to change the status quo to get them to buy into the system
and be partners in development rather than people who stifle the
development activities in the area," President Aquino said. (PCOO News