Friday, October 11, 2013

Army bares gains in peace drive

From the Visayan Daily Star (Oct 12): Army bares gains in peace drive

Col. Jon Aying, 303 rd Infantry Brigade commander, said yesterday that their operations have recovered 10 high-powered firearms, including M-16, M-14 and AK 47 assault rifles, .45 caliber pistols, on top of three shotguns, a .22 caliber pistol and numerous homemade guns, in Negros Occidental.

Last week, eight members of the NPA Yunit Militia gave themselves up to the military and surrendered 13 guns, to avail of the AFP Guns for Peace Program, military records show

Seven M-16 assault rifles and two M-14 rifles were also surrendered by former NPA members in northern and southern Negros, Aying also said.

The surrender of so many firearms and series of encounters, Aying said, greatly affected the will of the NPA to fight and organize.

Because of their sustained military operations, in tandem with the Philippine National Police, he said they were also able to pre-empt terror attacks planned by the NPA.

Since 2011, the military has reported that 87 rebels have surrendered to the 303 rd Infantry Brigade, and availed of financial and livelihood assistance from the provincial government of Negros Occidental.

“I am optimistic that we are on the right path to peace,” Aying said. He also expressed elation that more Negrenses and civic organizations supporting them in the quest for just and lasting peace.

He said several non-government and civil society organizations, as well as private citizens from the business, academe and urban poor have converged to form peace and development groups to assist the provincial government of Negros Occidental in the planning, development, implementation and monitoring of peace and development efforts in the province.

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