Displaced families in Maguindanao, N. Cotabato safe to return home

By Edwin Fernandez

June 13, 2018, 5:46 pm

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao--The Army’s 6th Infantry Division (ID) has issued the green light for the more than 30,000 civilians displaced by recent hostilities in Maguindanao to return home.

“We ask our people to return home now; it is now safe to return to your communities,” Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, 6ID commander, said in a radio interview here Wednesday.

More than 30,000 individuals have deserted their homes in at least six towns in Maguindanao and in Pikit, North Cotabato after the Army launched a three-day air and ground assaults against IS-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in the boundary of the two provinces.

Sobejana said the operation was coordinated properly with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) because the targeted BIFF areas are near acknowledged MILF communities.

Tim Ambolodto, Maguindanao disaster response unit officer, said about 15,000 civilians were affected in the province alone. For her part, Tahira Kalantongan, disaster officer of Pikit, North Cotabato, said over 10,000 people were displaced from six villages of the municipality near the Liguasan marshland.

At least 24 persons have died, 22 of whom are BIFF members, a civilian and a soldier.

Military airstrikes, artillery fire, and ground troop movements that began on Sunday (June 10) destroyed the strategic strongholds of the BIFF in the Liguasan marsh area, the Army said.

The military’s “surgical” operation destroyed a weapon and bomb-making factory of the terrorists’ south of the marshland. “Very soon, the area will be normalized,” Sobejana said. (PNA)