Thursday, January 22, 2015

Army relies on “Bayanihan” in fight against insurgency

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jan 22): Army relies on “Bayanihan” in fight against insurgency

The  1002nd Infantry Brigade  of the Philippine  Army puts  trust on community involvement  in its   bid to curtail  insurgency in its area of responsibility.

“The  Armed Forces of  the  Philippines  (AFP) is only a part  of the  solution to the   insurgency problem,”  Brigade  Commander   Colonel Ronald C. Villanueva   said in a meeting  with  members of the  media   at the brigade  headquarters in  Malandag, Malungon  Tuesday.

Col.  Villanueva emphasized  in  said  meeting that  the  AFP’s  peace and development  efforts  have  shifted   from predominantly   militaristic  solution to  a  people-centered  approach  that is  founded on consultations  and  engagements  with stakeholders.

 Their troops, he added, are exercising their role as catalysts or agents of change where they have to partly shift from their traditional roles as combatants to nation-builders.

1002nd Infantry  Brigade’s  AOR covers  South Cotabato and  Sarangani provinces, 2nd  District of  North Cotabato  and  the municipality of  Columbio, Sultan  Kudarat  in SOCCSKSARGEN Region and  Davao  del Sur.

The Army  official added that  the brigade  is confronting  the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) and Far-South Mindanao Region (FSMR) of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), National Democratic Front (NDF) and the New People’s Army (NPA) with an estimated strength of 140 regular members and 188 firearms.

Col. Villanueva explained that the rebel  group  has continued  to conduct   ideological, political, and  organizational  works to strengthen their armed elements, consolidating united front efforts and establishing reliable support bases in the communities particularly the indigenous people in upland areas.

“It is that illiteracy still a common reason that some of them are easily deceived and joined with the group. The “walang pakialam” attitude or being unmindful of the situation is also a reason why this insurgency problem exists for a long years”, said by Col Villanueva.

Quoting Desmond Tutu, he  underscored:  “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

“The vulnerabilities of the populace particularly those who are living in far flung communities of the region are persistently exploited by this rebel group.

“The situation is basically driven by unequal opportunity for development, unable to benefit from the delivery of basic services, injustice and poor governance, slow or lack of delivery of basic services and goods have pushed the region to sluggish economic growth,” he  explained  further.

Thus, he emphasized,  the  1002nd IB  conducts support operations in order to assist stakeholders create a just and peaceful environment conducive to sustainable development in its area of responsibility.

The primary objective shall be winning the peace through “Bayanihan,” he said.

At the meeting he  also  appealed to the media  to help  in their  efforts   by  quoting  from  Muzna Shakeel’s “The role of media in today’s world” which states: “The media is considered as "mirror" of the modern society. In fact, it is the media which shapes our lives.

“The media is in charge of information, education, entertainment, advertising and correlation of parts of society.

“Society is influenced by media in so many ways. It is the media for the masses that helps them to get information about a lot of things and also to form opinions and make judgments regarding various issues.

“It is the media which keeps the people updated and informed about what is happening around them and the world. No doubt, media has played significant role in making world a global village and to reduce the communication gaps amongst the people living in the far areas. I believe, if the media identifies its responsibility and work sincerely and honestly, then it can serve as a great force in building the nation.”

Also  present during the  meeting  were  Lt.Col. Ronald Jess S. Alcodia, battalion commander of 27IB based in Tupi, South Cotabato;  Lt. Col. Felix Ronnie B. Babac, battalion commander of 73IB based in Malita, Davao Occidental;  Lt.Col. Apollo Jun F. Lamaton, battalion commander of 39IB based in Sta.Cruz, Davao del Sur;  and staff officers from 1002nd Brigade and its operationally controlled units.

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