By JOHN FELIX UNSON
ISABELA CITY, Basilan: The once hostile Basilan has now attained the elusive peace, after it was made peaceful by a common peace program of local government units (LGUs) and the offices of Gov. Jim Salliman and House Deputy Speaker Mujiv Hataman, who is the lone congressional representative in the province, where local fishermen can now freely sail out and catch all kinds of fishes in the fishing ground within the island province.
Fishes in Basilan are always fresh and sold unfrozen and not by kilo but by piece. Prices are more than half lower than prices in markets in provinces outside, in the Visayas, in Metro Manila and elsewhere.
Basilan’s economy was badly devastated by the “cocolisap” infestation that destroyed thousands of hectares of coconut farms and by conflicts instigated from the early 1990s until 2012 by the Abu Sayyaf terror group.
The Abu Sayyaf’s reign in Basilan died out after more than 200 of its local members returned to the fold of law through the joint intercession of provincial leaders and the LGUs in the 11 towns and two cities in the province, the military’s Western Mindanao Command and the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, through the Basilan provincial police
The economy of Basilan has obviously been bouncing back in the past five years owing to the economic diversification efforts of its provincial government, now helping improve the productivity of farmers propagating short-term crops, including vegetables, corn and rice.
These Facebook images from netizen Mata Ng Agila Lantawan, an entrepreneur-merchant, show the kind of fishes Basilan’s fisherfolk catch from the sea everyday and are peddled around by motorcycle-riding vendors, or are sold in the local markets. JOHN FELIX UNSON