From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 29): Maguindanao town execs, Islamic preachers vow to fight terrorism, hard drugs
Local leaders and Islamic preachers here have signed a manifesto against terrorism and illegal drugs hours after government forces neutralized five men involved in illegal drug trade and gun manufacturing supplied to lawless armed group in Maguindanao.
Pandag Mayor Zihan Mamalinta-Mangudadatu spearheaded a summit that gathered multi-sectoral representatives, including village officials who vowed to oppose, even violently, the entry of jihadists in town.
Mamalinta-Mangudadatu lauded the Army's 33rd Infantry Battalion and Maguindanao PNP-Special Action Force for the dismantling of a drug syndicate and the confiscation of gun-fabricating machine in a remote village here Wednesday morning.
The manifesto was also signed as witnesses by Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, Maguindanao police director, and Major Robert Betita and Col. Bismarck Soliba of the Army’s 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade, Supt. Jibin Bongcayao of the Maguindanao police office, Juvenal Azurin of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-ARMM) and Islamic theologian Zainudin Gumbila.
Tello and Maj. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, 6th Infantry Division commander lauded Mayor Mamalinta-Mangudadatu for initiating the summit that will help authorities thwart terrorism.
Pandag is a poor town among Maguindanao's 36 municipalities and is vulnerable to extremism owing to high poverty rate.
But the town mayor assured the public all her constituent-officials from the municipal down to barangay level have pledged to denounce and oppose terrorism and illegal drugs.
"We will not allow it to thrive in our communities, we have good Muslim residents who religiously practice Islamic faith," she said.
She said the manifesto shows the local officials' support to President Duterte's war on drugs and terrorism as well as the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao.