By Teng Lauban Datu
Cotabato City Bureau Chief .
ZAMBOANGA City — A top police official here attributed the reduction in the crime rate in the Zamboanga Peninsula to the success of the peace process in Mindanao.
“The prevailing good peace and order situation in Zamboanga Peninsula is a result of the positive effects of the peace process,” Zamboanga Peninsula Police regional director Chief Supt. Billy Beltran said.
Beltran said threats from Moro revolutionary groups have been drastically reduced because of the developments in the Bangsamoro peace process, particularly with the recent signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law by President Rodrigo Duterte.
He noted that since the peace process made substantial progress, the cities and provinces in the Zamboanga Peninsula have not recorded any incident of bombings and other serious terror attacks.
“There’s a downtrend crime rate in the region,” Beltran said.
Zamboanga Peninsula Region covers the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay, along with the chartered cities of Zamboanga City and Isabela City in the island province of Basilan.
“Mindanao has so much potential and promise, and this all depends on the success of the peace process,” Beltran said.
Sammy Al Mansour, chief of staff of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, said normalization and peace are inseparable.
“If there is normalization, there is peace. If there is no normalization, there will be no peace. So this is a challenge to all of us because we have to normalize the situation in order to have peace,” he said.
AFP Peace and Development Office chief Colonel Cesar de Mesa reiterated the need for the government security forces, MILF-BIAF, communities, and other peace partners to work hand-in-hand to ensure the success of the peace process.
“We have to support it and give it a chance,” he said. (with reports from peace.gov.ph)