By Jennifer C. Tilos
DUMAGUETE CITY, (PIA) –Five barangays in Negros Oriental were recently declared “insurgent-free and development-ready” by the 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army.
The barangays of Siapo and Basak, in San Jose town; barangay Silab in Amlan; Enrique Villanueva in Sibulan; and barangay Dobdob in Valencia, used to be regular targets of the extortion and liquidation activities of CPP/NPA , were declared as “insurgent-free and development-ready” barangays after an area clearing evaluation and validation (ACEV) reportd being endorsed by army brigade.
It is reported, these barangays had been previously infested by the New People’s Army (NPAs), hence, government’s development efforts were hampered.
According to Col Christopher Estella, deputy commander of 302nd Brigade said the active and untiring support of the local government units for the efforts of 79th IB peace and development workers deployed in the five barangays brought a positive impact to the community.
However, Col Estella said some residents are apprehensive because of fear of retaliation from CPP/NPA.
“With peace paving the way to development, the people living in those communities will have a better chance to uplift their living condition,” Estella said.
The declaration of the five barangays as insurgency-free was deliberated by ACEV board, with Estella as chair said the barangays will continue to be threatened by the NPAs if their issues and concerns are not being addressed accordingly.
Estella attributed the winning of peace in the areas to the convergence of government efforts and key role of the LGUs.
Barangay DobDob Capt Guilberto Darias said that “my barangay will surely be insulated against the recovery efforts of the NPAs if the road conditions in the barangay will be improved”.
Darias added “A good road will facilitate the smooth delivery of basic services towards my constituents.”
Farm to market roads are among the common issues raised by residents in barangays resonated by Darias to prevent rebel elements to establish a foothold again.
Col Estella added that more barangays in Negros Oriental will be declared insurgent-free as the military continues its operations in the hinterlands of the province.
“The ACEB is optimistic that the province would eventually be free from insurgency later this year. This vision, if realized will equate to influx of more investors and businesses, hence, more job and development for the people of Negros Oriental,” the military official said. (JCT/PIA7-Negros Oriental)