From the Philippine Information Agency (Feb 11): Tabak chief cites CAFGU’s role in IPSP implementation
Tabak commander Brigadier General (BGen.) Gerardo Barrientos Jr. on Friday lauded the 5th Infantry (Duty Bound) battalion assisting the infantry division in the implementation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) or “Bayanihan.”
Speaking during the 65th founding anniversary of the battalion, Barrientos said “the cadre unit is responsible for training the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGUs) as force multipliers to army troops in the conduct of its internal security operations.”
“The cadres composed of non-commissioned officers (NCOs) handling the 5,800 CAFGU members in the area underwent tough and rigorous trainings. They are not like ordinary soldiers. They are fully, completely trained and educated as far as military training is concerned,” Barrientos elucidated.
The 5th IB covers the area of Lanao Norte, Lanao del Sur, Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Sur.
Barrientos said: “it is the cadres who trained CAFGU members to help the regular forces protect our county. After the training, CAFGUs are deployed in their respective communities so that they could easily accomplish their mission.”
The Tabak commander also recognized the vital role of CAFGUs saying “they are the ones giving information to their cadres since they have access to the different areas, have complete knowledge of the terrain, and they are the direct contacts in the community.”
“CAFGUs have the advantage in protecting their villages from outside threats as they are more familiar with their own communities,” Barrientos added.
Barrientos encouraged the cadres to motivate the CAFGU members for them to continuously support the community.
As a motivation to CAFGU members, Barrientos announced the increase in their subsistence allowance. In return he expects the CAFGU members to render their services efficiently.
In a related development, 5th IB commander Lieutenant Colonel James Aseron underscored the crucial role of CAFGU members in the accomplishment of their mission.
“The CAFGUs play a vital role in protecting the communities since our regular troops could not cover the entire area in the Philippines. They are the ‘stay-behind forces’ and our first responders in times of calamities,” Aseron explained.
“As we celebrate our founding anniversary, I urged the troopers and CAFGU members to heartily serve the country in order to attain peace,” urged Aseron.
Similar peace rally were also held in Marawi City, where 150, 000 people attended. The number of participants that joined the rallies were, Poblacion Pikit, North Cotabato- 69, 332; General Santos City- 8, 205; Davao City- 1, 474; Datu Paglas in Maguindanao- 61,000; Isabel City, Basilan- 550; Jolo, Sulu-15, 321; Bongao, Tawi-Taw- 3, 500; Baloi, Lanao Del Norte, 14, 700; and Batasang Pambansa or House of Representatives, 3,000.
Official tally seen by this writer divulged the total number of participants that joined the peace rallies were 377, 327. All the speakers at the city plaza were one in saying that the deliberations on the BBL must continue and not let a single incident, like the one at Mamasapano affect the GPH-MILF Peace Process. The crowd chanting Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar also chanted “PEACE” for Mindanao as they no longer want war.
The peace rallies held in various major cities of Mindanao and other areas were spearheaded by the Mindanao Alliance for Peace (MAP) headed by Dr. Abdulmanan Gayak with the support of the League of Bangsamoro Organizations (LBO); UNYPAD, and other non-government organizations and civil society groups.
Representatives of the indigenous peoples, Christian groups, women and youth sector also spoke during the rally. Catholic nuns also joined the peace rally.
In an interview, Drieza Al-Moro of Lanao Del Sur, asserts the importance of enacting the BBL rather than suspending it as it will affect the entire peace process.
On the other hand, Malacañang through Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. reiterates the call of President Benigno Aquino II to congress to continue the deliberations on BBL as ”the next steps for the proposed law should be in pursuit of the peace process”. The simultaneous rallies would only mean that “PEACE IS ONE AND THE ONLY CLAMOR OF THE MOROS, IP’s AND CHRISITIANS IN MINDANAO”, as war is catastrophic to everyone, in their lives, properties and the future of their children.