COTABATO CITY – Maguindanao Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu urged mayors on Wednesday to help prevent the spread of radicalism and terrorism in the countryside.
Citing the mayors’ major role in protecting the people from misguided individuals using Islam to push jihadist mentality and radicalism, Mangudadatu said the “mayors should know all the people in their towns, through the help of village officials.”
“By doing so, we can prevent foreign nationals roaming around remote villages in the guise of preaching the Holy Qur’an but advocate violence using Islam,” Mangudadatu told a local radio station.
He said he had “very reliable” reports from the ground that foreign missionaries are not actually preaching and spreading Islam, but use the religion in pursuit of recruiting radicals.
Mangudadatu said these people target poorly-educated villages where people, particularly young Moro, could be easily convinced to join the wrong struggle.
“I rely on the mayors to fight radicalism from flourishing in our communities,” he stressed, adding that Islam has not promoted any form of violence unless it is under attack.
Maj. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, 6th Infantry Division chief, has forged an agreement with Maguindanao provincial officials for a joint undertaking in preventing the spread of terrorist organizations in its area of jurisdiction.
The signing of Memorandum of Agreement was done during the Maguindanao provincial peace and order council meeting Tuesday in Buluan town.