Three Philippine soldiers hurt in encounter with terrorists
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Three soldiers were wounded in a clash with members of a Daesh-inspired terror group in Lanao del Sur four days after the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) voted overwhelmingly for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) aimed at helping bring just and lasting peace to troubled Southern Philippines, a military spokesman reported on Thursday.
Colonel Gerry Besana, the spokesman of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, said the encounter between government forces and members of the Maute Group occurred on Thursday morning in the town of Sultan Damalondong, Lanao del Sur.
The clash involved 20 members of the Maute Group that pledged allegiance to the Daesh extremista in the Middle East, who first hoisted the black Daesh flag after they took over the old municipal hall in the town of Sultan Damalondong, according to Besana.
The military also blamed the Maute Group and the Abu Sayyaf, another Daesh-inspired terror group, for laying siege on Marawi, the capital city of Lanao del Sur in May 2017 that prompted President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao which is still in effect by an act of Congress from Jan 1 to Dec. 31, 2019.
Lanao del Sur is a component province of ARMM along with Maguindanao, Tawi-Tawi-Basilan and Sulu which is to provide the iniitial core territory to be set up by the government, called the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
During the plebiscite conducted on Monday by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Tawi Tawi and Basilan provided the “decisive votes” that signalled the overwhelming victory for BARMM, based on unofficial count of the plebiscite returns.
Sulu, however, was the lone ARMM province that went against the tide, with 163,526 of its qualified voters rejecting the law as against the 137,630 approving it.
But Octavio Dinampo, a professor at the Mindanao State University, pointed out the defeat of BOL in Sulu did not matter because the province is part of ARMM which the BARMM is to replace and whose vote is counted as one.
“Sulu’s ‘no’ vote could only be considered if ARMM as a whole voted no. But since the ARMM voted yes, Sulu’s no vote is an exercise in futility,” Dinampo explained.
Source: Gulf Today