The President’s Visit to 1st Infantry Division
In a recent address to the troops, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. expressed his admiration for the Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Division (1ID) and the joint task force combating terrorist organizations in the southern region of the Philippines.
He lauded their consistent and excellent performance, praising their dedication and love for the Republic of the Philippines.
A Proud History of Service
President Marcos Jr. reminisced about his childhood days when he accompanied his father during camp tours, where the elder Marcos frequently visited the 1st Infantry Division, also known as the Army’s Tabak Division.
He emphasized the soldiers’ significant role in the fight for peace in the Zamboanga Peninsula, urging them to take pride in their actions.
Transitioning from Warriors to Peacemakers
During his visit to the Kuta Major Cesar Sang-an in Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur, the President congratulated the soldiers for their remarkable work.
He called on them to shift their focus from being warriors to becoming peacemakers, as the nation strives to achieve lasting peace.
As the peace process advances, President Marcos Jr. expressed optimism about the development and progress that will follow in the region.
JTF ZamPeLan: A Diverse Task Force
The Joint Task Force Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao (JTF ZamPeLan) comprises the 1ID, Naval Task Group-ZamPeLan, and Tactical Operations Group 9.
This task force operates across several provinces, including Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Misamis Occidental, and some parts of Misamis Oriental.
Addressing Various Threats
JTF ZamPeLan confronts multiple threat groups, including the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) and Daulah Islamiyah-Maute Group (DI-MG).
Additionally, the task force plays a crucial role in monitoring the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
With a combined combat force of approximately 5,000 personnel, JTF ZamPeLan tackles these challenges head-on.
As of July this year, JTF ZamPeLan has accomplished several noteworthy achievements. Among them is the dismantling of six out of seven CTG guerilla fronts within its area of responsibility.
The task force successfully recovered 48 enemy firearms and neutralized four high-value individuals during an encounter with the DI-MG in March 2022. Furthermore, the top leadership of DI-MG, Abu Zacharia, the Amir of DI-Philippines, and the overall Amir of the Islamic State-East Asia, was neutralized on June 14.
Towards an Insurgency-Free Zamboanga Peninsula
With only one CTG guerilla front remaining, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) celebrates a strategic victory in the region.
Their focus now shifts towards completely eliminating CTG influence to maintain Zamboanga Peninsula’s insurgency-free status and support tourism and investment promotion efforts.
Addressing Challenges and Supporting Normalization
Alongside the successful anti-terrorism efforts, JTF ZamPeLan faces other significant challenges. These include tackling the proliferation of loose firearms, containing private armed groups in preparation for the upcoming 2023 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, and actively supporting the normalization process.
This involves the decommissioning of MILF combatants and the MNLF’s transformation program activities.
In conclusion, President Marcos Jr. praised the Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Division and the joint task force for their unwavering commitment to protecting the country and fighting against terrorist threats.
As they shift their focus towards peace-making, the nation looks forward to a future of progress and development in the Zamboanga Peninsula.