By: Jennifer C. Tilos
DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) — With the continued strengthening of peace efforts in Negros Oriental, a joint declaration of “Conflict-Manageable and Development Ready Province” will be held on April 28 at the Perdices Memorial Coliseum, this city.
According to Deputy Commander Col. Cristopher Estella of the 302nd Infantry Brigade, with the Oplan Bayanihan and military combat operations, the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) forces continue to dwindle fast.
A recent encounter between NPA forces and government troops in Pamplona town resulted to two rebels killed and a number of them wounded and the recovery of high-powered firearms.
Col. Estella said the military has reduced the level of the enemy’s capabilities to threaten the stability of the government and for the civil authorities to ensure the safety and well-being of Negrenses.
He added that based on some parameters, the NPA’s support system has been greatly reduced in the hinterland barangays, as the residents themselves informed the military through text messages the presence of unidentified armed men in the area.
“Once a province is declared as conflict manageable and development-ready, there are advantages that enhance the general feeling of security for the Negrenses, and the province will experience development in its economic and boost tourism industry,” Col. Estella explained.
Expected to sign the joint declaration in a formal ceremony include Gov. Roel Degamo, Armed Forces of the Philippines Commander of 3ID Major General Aurelio Baladad, and Regional Director P/CSupt. Danilo Constantino of Police Regional Office-7.
Meantime, more Bayanihan Team Operations and combat focus operations will be conducted by the Army to stop insurgents.
Instead of engaging in armed conflict, the Army also encourages militants to consider different avenues in returning to the “folds of the law” such as asking for assistance from local government units, the military official said.
Col. Estella said the Army continues its efforts to collaborate with the LGUs, government agencies, non-government organizations, and the local communities in pursuing the goal of the province to become insurgency-free. (rmn/JCT/MMB/PIA7 Negros Oriental) (April 11, 2014)