CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City—The country’s top defense and security officials will join the three-day Mindanao Sultanate Summit on Peace and Security (MSSPS) on 02 to 04 March 2017 at the Royal Mandaya Hotel in Davao City.

“Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, AFP Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año, and top commanders in the Mindanao area of responsibility will join indigenous Muslim leaders in the conference,” AFP Public Affairs Chief Colonel Edgard Arevalo said.

“Commanders of Eastern Mindanao and Western Mindanao Commands; 1st, 6th, and 10th Infantry Divisions; and all Battalion Commanders in Mindanao will also participate in the summit,” Col Arevalo added.

First of its kind, the conference aims to encourage the “Indigenous Muslim Traditional Leadership” to support for the government’s campaign against violent extremism.

“This Summit manifests our application of the “convergence approach” that is vital in defeating the Abu Sayyaf Group and ensuring that vulnerable communities are protected from their violent ideology,” Col Arevalo said.

“By involving Indigenous Muslim Leaders in Mindanao, we are a step closer in dissolving the terror group’s mass base support and prevent them from recruiting new members,” Col Arevalo concluded.

The Department of National Defense and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will partner with the group of Mindanao Sultans headed by Sultan Abdulaziz Salem Mastura Kudarat V, the 25th Sultan of Maguindanao.

Up to 450 Muslim traditional leaders from the various Sultanates of Mindanao will also be in attendance.

“Topics like poverty reduction, community policing, terrorism, and violent ideology will be tackled in the event. These will be followed by a series of workshops aimed at preventing the spread of extremism,” Col Arevalo said.

Joining General Año as guest speakers are Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr, DILG Secretary Ismael D Sueno, and Anti-Poverty Council’s Secretary Liza Maza.

“Aside from advancing the interests of and ensuring respect for traditional leaders in Mindanao, this Summit is an opportunity for us to underscore their role in peace and security in the region,” General Año said.

“Terrorism and the spread of violent extremism cannot be solved by the military on its own. The active participation and involvement of the different stakeholders is a much needed help in ensuring the peace, security, and development of Mindanao,” General Año added.