(Message of Brig. Gen. Rolly Bautista, Commander of Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division/Joint Task Force Marawi during the Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalization Forum of the Asia Foundation at Mindanao State University Main Campus, Marawi City on August 25, 2017)
Our peace building activities and engagements with communities are aimed at increasing our understanding and awareness of the importance of countering violent extremism.
Violent extremism or radicalization leads to terrorism and the most vulnerable sector is the youth. We have uncovered the extent of radical indoctrination among young Filipinos recruits in the ongoing Marawi crisis where young people formed the main forces of the ISIS-inspired Maute/Abu Sayaff terrorist groups.
The major hindrances toward achieving peace are the gaps between our faith our cultures, economic and social status and even power and politics. These result to a polarized or divided society and readily exploited by terrorist organizations, highlighting religious narratives for their own purposes.
We are clear on the 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division/Joint Task Force Marawi’s strategy on Civil-Military Operations (CMO) of the need to establish proactive programs addressing the issues of violent extremism and radicalization.
Even before the Marawi crisis, we have conducted initiatives to empower our troops to build necessary knowledge and skills in reaching out to the community and bringing your soldiers closer to the people we serve
Various seminars and trainings were conducted including Stakeholder Engagement Seminars and Harnessing Community Support Trainings for our troops.
We also designed methodologies in facilitating collaboration with community leaders and stakeholders to be our partners in conducting peace building undertakings.
Our Digital Media Management Training Series provided our troops a set of trainings for digital product development and organizing online initiatives including website content development and social media management.
Our Radio Broadcasting Training equipped our troops in conducting radio programs for information dissemination. These trainings prepared our troops for efficient key leader engagements for building relationships with government and business leaders for community defense enhancements.
Your Army participated in the launching of the Negosyo Center for Lanao del Sur here in Marawi City a few days before the crisis.
During the crisis, we concurrently conduct peace building and psychosocial initiatives. These are included in the series of activities to establish peaceful communities and prevent the recurrence of violence.
Our youth leadership empowerment initiatives encourage the youth to take an active role in peace building activities in their communities.
The delivery of our CMO programs ensures the successful implementation of humanitarian missions including relief operations, community engagements and psychosocial activities to affected communities.
Even after this crisis, we will continue our peace building and psychosocial initiatives to sustain CMO activities to build long-lasting peaceful communities.
When you combine hard power and soft power, it becomes smart power. We intend to maintain strong support and partnerships in rehabilitating Marawi with the people we serve and with the community we serve.
Narito po kami upang kayo ay paglingkuran at protektahan.
Kasama po kayo, ang ating pagkakaisa ay maghahatid sa atin tungo sa pagbangon muli ng Marawi.
Maraming salamat at mabuhay ang ating bayan!