"The idea here is that rather than imposing theright-handed approach — military operations — we're offering the left-handapproach or enhancing community-based relations," Major-General BenjaminDolorfino, commander of military units in Manila, was quoted as saying byReuters.
He said troops would hold a series of meetings toknow more about the Muslim community's problems and offer them solutions.
"The primary approach is dialogue aimed atknowing the problems and eventually bringing in the stakeholders so that we canbring solutions to the community's problems."
Dolorfino, himself a Muslim, believes visits totraditional Islamic meeting places would deny militants "potentialsanctuary, where they can plot to explode bombs in the cities".
"We're trying to hit so many birds with justone stone," he said.
An estimated 800,000 Muslims reside in metropolitan
The mineral-rich southern region of Mindanao,Islam's birthplace in the
But local Muslims were cautious about the plans.
"We're not against deployment of soldiers inour villages," Nasruddin Amerol, one of the community leaders in
"As long as we would be informed of the realpurpose of their stay, we're happy to host them."
The army came under sharp criticism after itdeployed soldiers around slum areas of the capital, amid reports the troopswere conducting an invisible campaign against left-wing activists ahead ofcongressional elections in May.
The local Commission on Human Rights on Tuesdaycriticized the deployment of soldiers in slum communities, citing evidence theyare violating the right to assemble and freedom of expression.
Amerol said he could not blame some Muslim residentsif they feared the presence of soldiers because of their past experiences inthe south.
"They're welcome here as long as they respectour culture and our religion," he asserted.
"We're not allowing them inside our mosquesunless there are Muslims among them."
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and theMoro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the largest and oldest groups, areseparately pursuing peace talks with
MILF said Saturday, March 10, that the governmenthas offered Muslims in the southern provinces a self-determination, anunprecedented move expected to push forward stalled peace talks to end one ofthe world's longest-running conflicts.
The MNLF fought for an independent Islamic state inthe south from the late 1960s until the OIC, through
Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16