By Teng L. Datu
COTABATO City — Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman condemned the attacks by the Abu Sayyaf Group against Armm-Department of Public Works and Highways workers while building infrastructure projects at Barangay Baas, Lamitan City in Basilan last Saturday.
“Even as we mourn the deaths of the two workers, we condemn the attack on them and the assaults on the personnel of the Armm who have been working to ensure that government services are delivered well so a lasting peace may become a reality here (in Basilan),” Hataman said.
He noted that the Abu Sayyaf bandits persisted in attacking since 2012 the Armm’s ongoing construction of transcentral roads in Basilan.
“We remain firm in our determination to continue building the infrastructure our people need. Yes, we grieve, but these attacks will not deter the Armm regional government from continuing efforts to provide the infrastructure and vital services our people need,” Hataman said in an interview here.
He said the bandits are against the projects “because these roads provide the law enforcement and military personnel and their vehicles easier access to the Abu Sayyaf lairs on the island.”
An Abu Sayyaf gunman stood in the middle of the Basilan Circumferential Road and shot a DPWH-Armm dump truck and a transit mixer with an M203 assault rifle, killing the drivers of both heavy equipment vehicles. Two more DPWH-Armm personnel who were with the slain drivers are in the intensive care unit, fighting for their lives.
He said the transcentral roads they are building are vital to connecting communities in the region and facilitating growth and development that will offer the people better opportunities for prosperity and peace.
“The DPWH-Armm builds roads so that development can reach the most isolated and poorest communities—even if our district engineer has been attacked twice with hand grenades, even as the department has been subjected to numerous threats, and attempts at extortion,” he added. (with reports from pna)