By Darryl John Esguerra

TROOP VISIT. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. visits the 6th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao on Monday (April 29, 2024). In his message, the President honored the soldiers’ bravery and expressed optimism that they can secure the first ever parliamentary elections in the Bangsamoro region. (Presidential Photojournalists Association)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Monday expressed optimism that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) can secure peace and order for the May 2025 Bangsamoro parliamentary elections. 

In his visit to the 6th Infantry Division in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, Marcos said the military’s role will be crucial in ensuring peaceful and orderly elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The Bangsamoro parliamentary elections will elect the successors of the interim Bangsamoro Transition Authority Parliament members.

“The upcoming first BARMM parliamentary elections in May 2025 will represent a milestone in our journey towards a meaningful autonomy and a peaceful Bangsamoro,” Marcos said.

“I am sure that you have the ability, I know you have the ability to secure a safe and honest conduct of these elections as this will lay the groundwork for a Bagong Pilipinas (New Philippines). I am confident that the entire Filipino nation can count on you for this very important undertaking,” he added. 

During his visit, the President also awarded the Distinguished Conduct Star (DCS) to two soldiers and the Gold Cross Medal to three soldiers for their heroism in a recent encounter with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters-Karialan Faction. 

The Commander-in-Chief paid tribute to the soldiers’ heroism and vowed to continue looking after their welfare, as well as their families.

“As your President, I join the rest of the Philippines in giving you my snappiest salute and express my deepest gratitude to you for your sacrifice. You can [be] rest assured that, while you defend our nation against all threats, this government will continue to nurture your welfare and that of course, of your families,” he said. 

“You are an inspiration to us all, it is through your valiant efforts that we will build a strong Mindanao and a more prosperous Bagong Pilipinas for the present and for future generations,” he added. 

Aside from this, Marcos visited wounded-in-action soldiers at Camp Siongco Station Hospital, gave them DCS awards and handed over financial assistance. (PNA)