DERADICALIZED. The government has tapped the assistance of former members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the campaign against terrorism in Basilan province. Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, the Joint Task Force (JTF)-Basilan commander, says Tuesday (Dec. 6, 2022) that 15 former ASG members completed on Dec. 4 the three-day deradicalization training program for the initiative. (Photo courtesy of JTF-Basilan)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The government is tapping former members of the Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) to assist in its campaign against terrorism and serve as peace advocates in the island province.

Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, the Joint Task Force (JTF)-Basilan commander, said in a statement Tuesday that the ex-ASGs will be tapped to encourage remaining ASG members to surrender “because the government will always help them give a brighter future.”

Gobway said 15 former ASG members initially completed on Sunday a three-day deradicalization training program held at the headquarters JTF-Basilan in Isabela City.

Gobway said the program intends to capacitate the former ASG members in their role as peace advocates in the community.

The program also aims to educate the ex-ASGs on the fundamentals of public speaking to enlighten the minds of Basileños as living testimonies of how miserable their lives would be if they join the extremist group.

The deradicalization program was a joint undertaking of the Philippine Army, through the 1st Infantry Division civil-military operations office, in partnership with JTF-Basilan, the Basilan provincial government, and the Ministry of Public Order and Safety in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MPOS-BARMM). (PNA)