From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 22): Army official: Civilians vital to counter NPA
A ranking Philippine Army official stressed the need for the cooperation of local government units (LGUs) and communities to prevent New People's Army atrocities.
Maj. Gen. Jon Aying, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID), said the army and the police were looking at working with civilians in carrying out their duties.
“Their cooperation is really imperative so we can reduce the capabilities of the rebels in the future and in the coming days,” Aying said in a report on Thursday.
The 3ID covers six islands in the Visayas, including Bohol, Cebu, Siquijor, Negros, Panay and Guimaras.
Aying refused to believe that the NPA had major influence in the Visayas despite the recent attacks perpetrated by the communist rebels.
“It’s not about the armed elements, it’s about the capabilities of people. The 100 firearms won’t make them strong,” the Army official said.
Last Sunday, at least 50 suspected rebels raided the Maasin Municipal Police Station in Iloilo Province, and carted away a cache of firearms, base and hand-held radios, Hi-Lux patrol car, among others, as well as personal belongings of policemen on duty.
Aying, who is based at the 3ID headquarters in Jamindan, Capiz, said the NPA apparently took advantage of the vacuum as the raid took place a day after soldiers from Iloilo were deployed to Marawi City.
Earlier, Aying said of the 10 provinces in the six islands covered by the 3ID, six were already cleared of insurgency: Bohol, Cebu, Siquijor, Aklan, Antique and Guimaras.
The remaining four with insurgency concerns include Iloilo, Capiz, Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental.