Pikit, Liguasan Marsh Declared 'Zones of Peace'
MALACANANG on Tuesday declared the areas of Pikit and the Liguasan marsh in Central Mindanao as a “zones of peace,” paving the way for the peaceful return of residents who were displaced by a military offensive to flush out Muslim separatist rebels from Pikit last month. Presidential Assistant on Mindanao Jesus Dureza also said various government agencies have “converged” in Central Mindanao to carry out relief and rehabilitation efforts in the area. “The idea is to allow the residents to return home,” Dureza also said, explaining the decision to declare Pikit as a “zone of peace.” He said other areas, like Pagalungan, which were also turned into battlegrounds during last month’s military offensive, will also be declared “zones of peace.” Dureza said this was just the first step taken by the government to return normalcy to the lives of people in the area. Pitched battles between troops and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) last month displaced 214,000 people from Pikit and its environs. Full Story