MANILA –Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has sought the help of Muslim Mindanaw traditional leaders in combating extremism in Mindanao, saying that a military solution is not enough to quash it.
It is high time government and traditional leaders sit down and talk about the “real issues” that confront Mindanao, Lorenzana said during the March 2 meeting of the First Mindanaw Sultanate Summit on Peace and Security, held at the Royal Mandaya Hotel in Davao City.
Participating in the activity were members and representatives of the different royal houses and sultanates. The event ends Saturday.
The defense chief noted that among the issues that need to be tackled immediately is the prevalence of extremism that leads to underdevelopment and poverty.
He called on the assembly to use their influence to help the government address these problems as it is the children who suffer most in the fighting.
The cycle of violence also makes it easier for extremists to recruit additional fighters and members, he said, adding that to combat this, the government is bringing in economic development in the affected regions.
Lorenzana also recognized that there has been little dialogue between the national government and traditional Mindanaw leaders in the past, especially on the issue of extremism in the region.
“We want to get your inputs. Papakinggan namin kayo, kasi mukhang hindi kayo napapakinggan noon. (We will listen to you, since it appears that no one was listening to you in the past.) Now, we will have this dialogue. We will mesh our ideas together to improve our area,” he added.