President Rodrigo Roa Duterte formally activated the 11th Infantry “Alakdan” Division, Philippine Army to purge Sulu of terrorism in a ceremony held at Camp Teodulfo Bautista in Bus-bus, Jolo, Sulu on Monday (December 17).
Saying that the activation of the 11th ID will help defeat the Abu Sayyaf Group in the province, the Commander-in-Chief called on the Suluanons to help the government in its anti-terrorism campaign.
“I do not want a war. I do not want to kill Filipinos. I do not want the government to kill its own people,” said President Duterte, “but there are certain developments, especially the entry of the ISIS, which have influenced the people to become more revolutionary.”
Under General Orders No. 1463, which provided for the activation of the 11th ID, units under the 1st Infantry Division, such as the 101st Brigade, the 32nd Infantry Battalion, and the 35th Infantry Battalion, will be assigned to the new division.
Units under the 5th Infantry Division, such as the 501st Brigade and the 21st and 41st Infantry Battalions, will be attached to the 11th ID.
“We still sustain our campaign against the Abu Sayyaf, but we are optimistic that, with the activation of the 11th ID, we will end our campaign against terrorism and bring peace and order in Sulu. Ang pinakamaganda dito ay makakapag-recruit na tayo ng locals na ma-coconsider natin na sa atin talaga,” said Brigadier General Rey Pabayo, Jr., the acting commander of the 11th ID.
President Duterte also led the distribution of pistols to Brigadier General Francisco Ariel Felicidario and Colonel Angelo Ramos of the 11th ID.
“This (activation) is a strategy to maintain our concentration and control our forces on the ground. We believe that the augmentation will help in our sustained campaign to bring about the defeat of the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu,” said Lieutenant General Arnel Dela Vega, the commander of the Western Mindanao Command.
The ceremony was held yesterday (December 18) at the headquarters of Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista in Jolo, Sulu.
Meanwhile, General Benjamin Madrigal, Jr, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, expressed his belief that the reorganization is a prudent move to reassess the movement and operations of the Joint Task Force Sulu.