DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) – The 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army based in Negros Oriental aims to make the province insurgency free by 2014.
302nd Infantry Brigade information officer, Capt. Cresencio Gargar disclosed that so far barangays Siapo and Basak in San Jose; Enrique Villanueva in Sibulan; Dobdob in Valencia; Banawe in Pamplona and Silab in Amlan are now cleared from insurgent threats posed by members of the New People Army (NPA).
He added that as of now, insurgent threats still remain at a manageable level but they still continue to conduct Bayanihan Operations to totally clear all towns in the province from NPA activities.
Commander of the 79th Infantry Battalion of 302nd Infantry Brigade, Col. Marion Sison said the NPA infestation in a certain area can’t be driven out by combat operations alone but through a united approach in solving insurgency problems like the Bayanihan Operations.
“Bayanihan activity involves national government agencies like Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Local Government Units,” Col. Sison said.
He said that DAR and the DENR are part of the Bayanihan Operations because of the land reform problems that contribute to the factors as to why NPA’s spread in certain areas of the province.
The DAR and the DENR explain to people the government’s measures in addressing problems in land reform.
Aside from this, the Bayanihan Operation is also a tool for delivering basic services to the residents in NPA infested areas. Sison said the 302nd Infantry Brigade has been conducting medical and dental missions to families and gave out school supplies to the students.
These Bayanihan activities help establish cooperation among government agencies, military and the community in fighting insurgency.
Meanwhile, Col. Christopher Estella, Deputy Commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade said the army targets to clear all towns in Negros Oriental from insurgent threats by December 2013.
“We have ‘till the end of the year to conduct Bayanihan activities and to clear NPA activities (in the province),” Estella said.
By next year, the 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army will establish their counterpart of the Philippine National Police’s Barangay Peacekeeping Action TEAM or BPAT in every barangay in Negros Oriental.
Estela said this will help in strengthening the barangays defense and security capability and in maintaining the security measures posed by the Bayanihan Operations. (mbcn/RAl/PIA7-Negros Oriental)