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Lanao Sur exec organizes summits to fight extremism, narcotics
« on: December 20, 2016, 07:06:03 PM »
Lanao Sur exec organizes summits to fight extremism, narcotics

COTABATO CITY, Dec. 18 (PNA) -- The provincial government of Lanao del Sur have launched a series of multi-sectoral summits aimed at containing religious extremism and narcotics that created unstable peace and order and stalled development in the province, officials said today.

In a statement, Lanao del Sur Gov. Soraya A. Adiong said Lanao Sur’s prevalent poverty and unstable peace were used by militant Maute Group to propagate religious extremism that made Marawi City and surrounding towns of Lake Lanao “unsafe.”

“During our teenage years, it was safe for us to roam around Marawi City even in the evenings, not afraid of any violence and danger,” the 66-year old Adiong said. “These days, current events in our province involving a group of local terrorists have kept us in the news the past couple of weeks,” Adiong admitted.

To bring back the old days, Adiong said, she decided to seek stakeholders’ participation in the government’s fight against illegal drugs, religious extremism and poverty.

Six summits were held in Marawi City and nearby municipalities attended by academic, political, business, traditional and religious sectors to craft measures that will save the province from the hands of extremists and jihadists.

During the summits, calls for federalism as an anti-dote against extremism and poverty became even louder in support to President Duterte’s advocacy for Mindanao.

Efforts were brought down to community level with stakeholders, including police and military officials and officials of Mindanao State University, explaining the ills of extremism and narcotics.

Adiong’s son, Mamintal Jr, the vice governor, earlier urged national education officials to strictly implement law requiring accreditation of private Arabic and Islamic schools to comply national academic standards and norms.

It was Adiong’s reaction to reports that some Arabic and Islamic schools (Madaris) have become “breeding grounds for radicalism.”

In one of the meetings, Islamic preacher Ismael Menk, an international peace advocate, talked about “misinterpretations” by jihadist of the Qur’an scriptures to promote terrorism as what the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The Maute Group have been espousing ISIS ideology, bombing areas in Mindanao. The group was blamed for the September 2 bombing in Davao City that left 15 dead and 60 wounded. Eight of its members allegedly involved in Davao bombing are now in government custody.

Dr. Habib Macaayong, MSU president, said the state college has lined up more peace summits next year. President Duterte was invited as keynote speaker on the MSU-sponsored peace summit on February 2017. (PNA)

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