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Filipinos urged to unite in fight vs. terrorism

MANILA — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday urged Filipinos to remember the lessons of the Marawi siege and work together against the threat of terrorism and extremism.

“One year ago, we showed the world our bravery. Every terrorist fighter lured to Marawi by false promises and the extremist ideology of hate saw our bravery and felt our wrath,” AFP Chief-of-Staff, Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., said in his speech during the commemoration of the city’s liberation held in Kampo Ranao, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.

“They continue to see our fearlessness as we stand watch over our country, ever vigilant against the resurgence of terror on our shores,” he added.

Galvez also expressed hope that the heroism of the troops who sacrificed their lives to retake the city would inspire Filipinos to stand united in fighting the threat of violent extremism and terrorism.

During the occasion, the AFP chief, assisted by Major Gen. Roseller Murillo, commander of the 1st Infantry Division of the Philippine Army; Brig. Gen. Ramiro Manuel Rey, commander of Joint Task Force (JTF) Ranao; and Brig. Gen. Generoso Ponio, commander of the 103rd Brigade, awarded medals to seven officers and 10 enlisted personnel of the 103rd Brigade.

They were conferred the gold cross medal, military merit medal, and bronze cross for their exemplary sacrifices during the Marawi siege.

Meanwhile, PNP Chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde, echoed Galvez’s remarks.

“The threat of terrorism, extremism is global. We cannot avoid that, so we must join hands in fighting the threats in Mindanao. There are many groups in all other parts of Mindanao. Hopefully, tension in critical parts ends with the (Bangsamoro Organic Law),” Albayalde told reporters.

He also paid tribute to the members of the PNP’s Special Action Force (SAF) who valiantly fought along with soldiers against the Maute-ISIS terrorists.

“We mourn with the families who lost their loved ones who became heroes of Marawi. Once again, we are very proud. We can say that once upon a time, they were a part of history, not only of the PNP and AFP but of the whole country. We thank them for their heroism,” Albayalde said.

On Oct. 17, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi City free from “terrorist influence” after a five-month conflict between government troops and Maute-ISIS terrorists. (Priam Nepomuceno and Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)

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