NegOr to mark ‘National Peace Consciousness’ celeb

By Jennifer C. Tilos

DUMAGUETE CITY, Aug. 30 (PIA) –Negros Oriental is set to join the nation in observing National Peace Consciousness Month this September.

The celebration will kick-off with flag raising rites on September 2 at 8:00 am at the Freedom Park, Capitol Area.

The month-long celebration will be joined by hundreds of local and national government employees, schools, non-government organizations representatives including the police and military personnel during the flag raising ceremony who will simultaneously recite the Panunumpa sa Watawat ng Pilipinas, followed by the provincial hymn.

To highlight the activity, doves will be released as symbols for peace, after which the multi-sectoral groups are encouraged to sign their names in a “Signature for Peace-Wall of Commitment”.

Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo will deliver a “message of peace” during the flag-raising ceremony with this year’s theme “Lahat ay Peace-sible.”

Immediately after the program, a press conference will be held with the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) at the old Session Hall, Provincial Capitol building.

According to Philippine Army 302nd Brigade Deputy Commander Col. Christopher Estella in a meeting recently, September has been declared as the Month of Peace pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 675 issued in 2004 because many of the peace milestones that occurred during the month.

Col. Estella said that on its 10th year observance, PPOC in coordination with the private sector, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders will conduct a series of activities for the month-long activity celebration.

This includes Run or Bike for Peace with town-to-town relay of runners, Peace Forum, medical mission, feeding program, Art for Peace, a parade, and concert for peace to be concluded with ecumenical service and program.

The council also intends to undertake a tree planting activity with the police and military forces at Barangay Tayak, Siaton.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will provide the seedlings.

The peace activities aim to raise awareness on the efforts to engage Negrenses in the peace process and in the search for a just and lasting peace at the countryside. (mbcn/JCT/PIA7-NegOr)

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Army declares 5 barangays in NegOr insurgent-free

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)

Army troopers in NegOr celebrates 64th IHL

By: Jennifer C. Tilos

DUMAGUETE CITY,  (PIA)–The army’s 302 Infantry (Achiever) Brigade joins the nation in commemorating the 64th celebration of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Month with this year’s theme: “Pagrespeto sa IHL: Susi sa Kapayapaan at Kaunlaran.”

Recently, the military group started the activity with the simultaneous flag raising ceremony in all operationally controlled units in the area of operations.

It is highlighted with the oath-taking of personnel on “Pledge of Reaffirmation of Commitment and Support to the International Humanitarian Law“  led by the CMO Officer, Capt. Cresencio Gargar.

It was followed by reading of the message of the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines (CSAFP), Gen. Emmanuel Bautista by Col Christopher Estella, deputy brigade commander who cited that “Peace can only be truly just and lasting if it is based on respect for life, human rights, and dignity.

Thus, in recognition of this, the operations, tactics, techniques, and procedures of the AFP have been continuously guided by the IPSP strategic imperative of Adherence to Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law, and the Rule of Law”.

“We adhere to the principles and clear obligations of the human rights, IHL and the rule of law but our enemies do not, therefore, we should put this armed violence to a responsible end with strict adherence to the law of the land,” Col Estella added.

Together, the troopers pledged to strictly adhere to and abide with the provisions of the International Humanitarian Law in the discharge of all our duties and functions.

Meanwhile, the 79th Infantry Masaligan Battalion based in Siaton town also celebrated its 7th year anniversary recently that marked its milestone in the province with a number of activities that anchored on the theme “Kapayapaan bigyang daan, Kaunlaran makakamtan”.

With 16 student-participants, a province-wide inter-high school oratorical and poster making competitions were held in Dumaguete City which highlighted the celebration, according to 1Lt Erick Wynmer Calulot.

This project, the first of its kind of the unit’s many advocacy projects aimed to promote peace and development on the perspective of education especially focusing on the youth sector, said Calulot.

Lt. Col. Marion Sison, commanding officer of the 79th Infantry Masaligan Battalion said this year’s celebration focused on the involvement of the stakeholders to promote and enhance awareness of the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) “Bayanihan” of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its goal of winning the peace.

Sison added that by doing this kind of non-traditional approach of winning the peace here in Negros Oriental, the stakeholders would feel that they are always part in the promotion of peace, security and development. (mbcn/JCT/PIA7-Negros Oriental)