COTABATO CITY — Police, military and local officials on Tuesday declared Lamitan City in Basilan province as free from the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.

The group once had members in some of its 45 villages that are now being touted as investment hubs in the island province.

The “Abu Sayyaf-free” tag was one of the highlights of Mayor Roderick H. Furigay’s state of the city report, Brigadier General Prexy D. Tanggawohn, director of the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, and Lieutenant General Roy M. Galido, commander of the Philippine Army, separately told reporters.

Thousands, among them local officials from Basilan led by Governor Hadjiman H. Salliman, attended Tuesday’s event in Lamitan.

In his report, Mr. Furigay talked about improvements in governance and local trade as a result of the fragile peace now spreading around Lamitan City. — John Felix M. Unson