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.