ZAMBOANGA CITY (PNA) – Residents of the Sulu town of Patikul have declared the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) as persona non grata or unwelcome in their municipality, a top military official said Friday.
Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said the declaration was made Thursday during the first-ever People’s Peace Covenant signing at the municipal hall of Patikul.
The ASG factions that are known to be based in the town of Patikul are being led by Radulan Sahiron, the oldest ASG leader, and Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, whose group is known to have ties with foreign terrorists.
Government troops, through military focused operations, are tracking down the groups of Sahiron and Sawadjaan in the hinterlands of Patikul.
“I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to the people of Patikul for expressing your commitment and support towards the achievement of our common goal,” Vinluan said.
“Rest assured that together with our partners and stakeholders, we will bolster our anti-terrorism campaign for peace and progress here in Sulu,” Vinluan added.
The People’s Peace Covenant signing, dubbed “Patikul Parjanjian”, was graced by Vinluan and other top officials of the police and military in the area, as well as Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan and other local officials.
The participants pledged to collectively act and support efforts to ensure the attainment of peace and order in all the barangays of Patikul.
The municipality of Patikul, which is comprised of 30 barangays, is a third-class town in Sulu with a population of 62,287 people, according to the 2015 census.