News Release

PBBM witnesses decommissioning of 400 illegal firearms in Basilan, making him first PH president to witness the gathering in the province

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. made history for being the first Philippine President to witness the decommissioning of some 400 illegal firearms seized in Basilan, symbolizing the commitment of the government and all stakeholders to peace.

“Although the ceremonies that we have here is really very simple, it is a symbolic, of a very important day because this is a testament to the commitment of all stakeholders to peace,” President Marcos told reporters in an ambush interview in Sumisip town.

“That is, it is a very significant also. I’m the first President to be able to come here because this was ground zero in the time of the fighting. And so, we can – it is a very clear landmark on the progress we have been making in bringing peace to Southern Philippines,” he said.

While President Marcos acknowledged that it was not the first time he witnessed the decommissioning of illegal firearms. He clarified, however, that there is already an ongoing process under the auspices of the UN, the European Union and other international organizations to continue decommissioning of weapons.

President Marcos said the government and its stakeholders are continuing their efforts to convince rebels to return back to the fold of the law.

“So, patuloy lang. We are still ongoing in the process and we are still trying to bring those who are still fighters to come down from the mountains and to join society,” President Marcos said when asked if it was the first time he witnessed the decommissioning of firearms.

“And we, for our part, will continue to support everything that they need in terms of housing, in terms of livelihood, in terms of schools, in terms of infrastructure. And that’s the role that we will play,” the chief executive added.

President Marcos said that he had a meeting with the governors of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARRM), who are coming together to forge an alliance to “support that the governors will bring to the autonomous government to BARRM.”

“And that’s the role that we will play,” Marcos said, referring to the meeting with BARMM governors.

The number of Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Basilan dwindled due to the proactive counter terrorism strategy of the provincial government. PND