From the Sun Star-Davao (Jul 14): NPA atrocities higher in Q2 - Army
THE 10th Infantry Division (10th ID) of the Philippine Army has recorded a total of 73 atrocities perpetrated by the New People's Army (NPA) for the second quarter of this year.
Based on the data presented by Major Jacob Thaddeus Obligado, 10th Civil Military Operations Battalion (10th CMOBN) commander, there was an increase of atrocities in the second quarter compared to the previous quarter at 51.
The military official said the NPA has committed most of its atrocities in Compostela Valley Province with 32 incidents recorded.
There were also 14 incidents recorded in Davao del Norte, 13 in Davao del Sur, nine in Davao Oriental and five in Davao City.
Obligado said most of the atrocities happened in April with 37 as the communist rebels were trying to intensify their permit-to-campaign, permit-to-win and other extortion schemes to generate funds for their movement.
The atrocities, however, gradually decreased with 22 recorded in May and only 14 in June.
Obligado attributed the decrease to the continuous implementation of the Internal Peace and Security Program-Bayanihan. The peace and development teams have been deployed in the barangay level to conduct information dissemination and seminars to the residents.
He added that more communist rebels have been enticed to go back to the folds of the law due to the Comprehensive Local Integration Program where returnees are awarded livelihood programs and immediate financial assistance.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines also has the Guns for Peace program where rebel returnees could return their firearm in exchange for cash.
The Eastern Mindanao Command, for its part, has recorded a total of 123 surrenderees since January of this year.
The surrenderees include a top NPA leader identified as Narciso Pulbos Ruben, who yielded to the 10th ID last July 10.
Governor Tan was quoted as saying, “That splitting Sulu would only cause disunity and dissension among the people and shall be the ‘stumbling block’ to peace and prosperity; People are being misled into believing that dividing Sulu into two or three provinces will bring more progress and funding support from the national government; and the proposed division will not bring good to the province particularly in the economic aspect. The interest of the people in Sulu must be the top priority over the other’s interest”.
Base on the set-up of the MILF Provincial Political Committee of Sulu the province is divided into three provinces, Central Sulu, Northern Sulu and Southern Sulu. The Provincial Committee sees the proposal as trying to undermine the strength of the MILF in Sulu and its mass-base.
Sulu has an area of 1,600 Square Kilometers and the 15th largest island province in the Philippine archipelago in terms of area and is classified as first class province in terms of income.
Given the scenario, the MILF in the province must strengthen its advocacy programs to gain more support from the populace and win Sulu for inclusion in the proposed Bangsamoro region.