Clarification of Baguio as extremists producer sought

Baguio City Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan wants to seek further clarification from the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) and the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) regarding their reports that some Saudi-inspired institutions operating in the city are allegedly involved in political and religious extremism and radicalism to help guide concerned government agencies and the local government in the formulation of the appropriate steps to put a stop on the said sensitive matter.

The local chief executive stated he will also bring the matter to the attention of the Muslim community in the city to help in finding ways on how to put a stop on the said questionable activities of the said Saudi-inspired institutions existing in the city to prevent the possible occurrence of the worst case scenario that will compromise the city’s peace and order situation.

“We will continue to be engaging the officials and members of the Muslim community to bring to their attention the sensitive issue and we are optimistic that they will be objective in dealing with the situation for us to be able to reach a unified stand on how to address the pressing concern,” Domogan stressed.

Under the NCMF and ATC report which was presented to the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) meeting during the joint RPOC and Regional Development Council (RDC) meeting here Thursday, a good number of Muslim scholars studying in some Saudi-inspired institutions in Baguio were allegedly dispatched abroad to join their colleagues in the extremist movement and have gone back to the country, especially in Marawi city, and joined the violent activities designed to advocate their political and religious agenda.

He explained there were initial reports that have been brought to his attention and the said issues had been brought to the attention of the concerned government agencies and law enforcement agencies for evaluation, assessment and validation.

According to him, there is a need to seriously deal with the said matter in a careful and objective manner to prevent the issue from being blown out of proportion which could create more problems than solutions that could compromise the city’s prevailing peace and order situation.

He added Muslims residents in the different barangays had been time and again reminded to police their own ranks during their previous engagements by reporting to concerned authorities their fellow Muslims who want to reside with them because if something untoward happens in Baguio city, it could not be avoided that the primary suspects will be always coming from their ranks considering what has been happening in violent-stricken areas.

Domogan urged his fellow local officials and members of the RPOC to intensify their massive information and education campaign regarding the government’s anti-terrorism efforts to help spare their areas from being invaded by terrorists who want to wreck havoc and ruin the prevailing peace and order situation in their areas of jurisdiction and prevent violence and bloodshed from happening around the country.

The NCMF and ATC will help empower concerned government agencies and local officials in advancing the government’s anti-terrorism efforts through various trainings and the distribution of appropriate information and education materials to the people. - Dexter A. See