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Marcos stresses Basilan's role in 'war against hunger,' assures gov't support

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Saturday assured that the government would take steps to unleash Basilan's potential as a resource-rich agricultural hub, which would help the country attain food security and ensure lasting peace.

"Basilan's new role is now the war against hunger," Marcos said at the "Panabang si Kasanyangan" Peace Offering Ceremony in Sumisip town.

The President assured that Basilan could count on the government to overcome its challenges, rising from its battle-scarred past into a peaceful island ripe with equitable opportunities.

"It must be woven now into the fabric of social life. In the case of Basilan, the harnessing of its potentials—a land blessed with resources, and a people rich in talent—is the key to enduring peace, one that is based on common progress and shared prosperity,” Marcos said.

Marcos noted that the province has rich soil and is almost typhoon-free, which makes it "an ideal bulwark for the fight for food security."

"Ang kailangan lang ay tulungan ang Basilan para maging isang lubos na food and fisheries production center. Kasama niyo ang pambansang pamahalaan sa bagong hamon na hinaharap ninyo na ito," the President said.

(All that is needed is to help Basilan to become a genuine food and fisheries production center. The national government will assist in this new challenge that you are facing.)

Marcos said that once Basilan's agri-fisheries potentials are unlocked, not only Basilan and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) would benefit, but the whole country as well.

Basilan was once "ground zero of war," Marcos said, but has now turned into an "epicenter of peace."

"A province that was once tainted by violence and terrorism is now a zone of peace, made possible not by military might alone, but more so by a people saying no to violence," he said.

Marcos added, "Peace is more than the cessation of hostilities. It is about the creation of a social order that values human dignity, improves lives, and promotes progress."

Also at the event, the President led the distribution of eight motorcycles to former rebels to support their livelihood.

Marcos, together with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Government Officials, also witnessed the symbolic destruction of 400 illegal firearms that were turned over by former rebels through current peace efforts. — VDV, GMA Integrated News