Reuters file photo shows smoke following a military air strike in Marawi.
MANILA, Philippines – Despite indications that authorities are on their way to reclaiming Marawi City from the hands of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups, the Lanao del Sur provincial government still thinks that defense should remain a priority in Mindanao amid military intelligence reports that the region remains under terrorist threat.
Thus, the Lanao del Sur government urged the national government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to help the region form an inter-provincial security corridor to intensify counter-terrorism measures in Mindanao.
“Alam po natin ‘yong [We know the] manner by which they conduct their own operation. Ang Maute at saka Abu Sayyaf ay hindi lang sa isang area, nagmu-move po sila around, so ginagawan lang nila ng pang-initial salvo ang Lanao del Sur [The Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups are not confined to one area, they move around and just made their opening salvo in Lanao del Sur], so that they can also attract other supporters from outside to come in and then do another attack in several areas in Mindanao,” said Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong.
“Kasi kapag nagkaroon tayo ng safety crusade corridor d’yan, ma-compress natin ang lahat ng provinces and ma-set up natin ‘yong security protocol d’yan, medyo mahihirapan na silang pumasok,” added Adiong, spokesperson of the Provincial Crisis Management Committee.