JTF Mindanao Chief assesses security situation in Western Mindanao

Lt. Gen. Faustino introduces Davao del Norte Governor Jubahib to JTF Sulu Commander Maj. Gen. Gonzales. (Photo courtesy of WesMinCom, AFP)

Since his appointment as the first commander of the Joint Task Force Mindanao, Lt. Gen. Jose Faustino has continued to visit military units and villages in his area of operation to assess the situation.

Lt. Gen. Faustino underlined the importance of the multi-stakeholder alliance during his visit to the island provinces of Basilan and Sulu from July 17 to 19, 2021.

“Our numerous successes in our peace efforts prove that peacebuilding is a shared responsibility. Peace and prosperity can not be attained through warfighting alone. We need to work together to nourish the seeds of peace for it to grow and last hence we must strengthen our collaboration and cooperation,” said Lt. Gen. Faustino during his talk to the troops and the local chief executives of the two provinces.

Lt. Gen. Faustino also thanked the local mayors for their unwavering support for the AFP’s campaign to combat terrorism and lawlessness in the region.

Lt. Gen. Faustino met with Basilan Governor Jim Hataman-Salliman and Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan as part of his trip.

He also paid a visit to the Sampinit Complex in the Sumisip municipality. The Sampinit Complex in Basilan used to be a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf bandits, but the stronghold was conquered thanks to the soldiers’ efforts, and the area was eventually named a “peace zone.”

“This is the fruit of the sweat, blood, and tears of our soldiers. All we have to do now is to protect this sanctuary,” Lt. Gen. Faustino further stated.

Still in Basilan, Brig. Gen. Gobway handed over the 204 firearms surrendered by citizens under the Small Arms and Light Weapons program, which was launched in Basilan as part of the Bangsamoro region’s normalization process.

The JTF Mindanao Commander also paid a visit to the crash site of the ill-fated C-130 plane in Sulu and prayed for the souls of the fallen colleagues.

Meanwhile, during separate sessions with troops in Basilan and Sulu, Lt. Gen. Faustino urged the men to remain committed to their unit’s objective.

“Let us continue to work hard to eliminate the threats and win the peace,” the commander said.

Lt. Gen. Faustino was joined by WesMinCom Commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., Davao Del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib, and the respective commanders of the military units in the two provinces during his unit inspections and talks with the local chief executives.

“I am happy that with the creation of the Joint Task Force Mindanao, we now have a senior officer who closely monitors our operations here in the area,” said Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr.

Joint Task Force Mindanao was established in June 2021 to coordinate the actions of the Eastern and Western Mindanao Commands in tackling common peace and security issues, particularly in Muslim Mindanao’s Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

Lt. Gen. Faustino who is a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Maringal” Class of 1988, is the 1st commander of the newly activated task force.

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