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Press Release - Bong Go expresses condolences for fallen soldiers in Lanao del Norte; calls for proper implementation of grants for former rebels

In the wake of a deadly encounter between Philippine Army soldiers and members of the Islamic State (IS)-linked Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute Group (DI-MG) in Lanao del Norte, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go has extended his deepest sympathies to the bereaved families of the military personnel who lost their lives.

"Unang-una, nakikiramay po ako sa mga pamilya ng mga nasawi," Go conveyed in an ambush interview on Wednesday, February 21, after attending the celebrations of the 104th Founding Anniversary of Marinduque, highlighting the sacrifices made by the soldiers in the line of duty.

The clash unfolded on February 18 in Lanao del Norte, which led to the death of six soldiers. The soldiers, part of the scout platoon of the 44th Infantry Battalion, were engaged in a military operation when they stumbled upon DI-MG militants in Barangay Ramain of Munai town.

"Alam n'yo, pinaghirapan po ni dating pangulong (Rodrigo) Duterte, ng Duterte administration na mabuo 'yung BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao), para magkaroon tayo ng long and lasting peace sa Mindanao," he stated, emphasizing the importance of not letting these efforts go to waste.

The senator also addressed the menace of terrorism, urging the military to intensify its efforts to suppress terror groups that threaten the stability of the region.

"Trabaho po ng ating law enforcers kasama ang military na sugpuin po itong terorismo lalo na kung may mapatunayan nga po na itong naiuulat na Maute Group ay nandidiyan pa rin sila sa Lanao del Norte. At alam n'yo, kapag terorista talaga, wala pong prinsipyong pinag-uusapan diyan, walang sinasanto 'yan. Dapat po talaga sugpuin ang terorismo," he added.

Another issue that Go responded to was the alleged reduction in cash assistance for the decommissioning of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants.

Go highlighted that these existing programs and incentives designed to facilitate the decommissioning process are key components to achieve peace between the government and rebel groups.

"Ako po'y nananawagan sa ating peace process secretary, Secretary (Carlito) Galvez, to validate and investigate together with the MILF Peace Implementing Panel and even