From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 2): Army seeks local gov't’s help vs insurgency
A top official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday asked local government units to take an active role in fighting insurgency in the country.
Speaking to local government executives, military personnel, and regional directors during the 29th anniversary of the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division, AFP Vice Commander Major Gen. Harold Cabreros stressed the need for local officials to assist in the anti-insurgency drive.
Cabreros said the military alone cannot solve the insurgency problem.
“Local government officials is of great help in fighting insurgency because we are pushing for holistic approach. When we say holistic, this means that it is not only the military, but this also needs the help from our local leaders, the non-government organizations, national government agencies and other sectors of the government,” he explained.
The official lauded the Samar provincial government headed by Governor Sharee Ann Tan-de los Santos for pushing the provincial development roadmap to help end insurgency in the province.
While the provinces of Southern Leyte and Biliran are already declared as insurgency-free and the province of Leyte as conflict-manageable affected areas, Samar province remains to be one of the hotbeds of insurgency in the region along with nearby Northern and Eastern Samar provinces.
The three provinces are recipients of government infrastructure projects meant for conflict-affected areas.
Cabreros added that the interventions of the Philippine Army in Eastern Visayas to help government agencies deliver basic services, has greatly helped in reducing the number of rebel groups in Samar Island.
Meanwhile, the official believed that recent attacks by the New People’s Army against government forces has no significant effects to the peace and order situation in the region.
The attacks are “NPA’s tactics to conduct terroristic activities just to give a message that they are there,” Cabreros said.
“But then, they are attacking soft targets like the Philippine National Police who are there to fulfill their mandate to enforce the law, our policemen are not there to fight insurgency, but to enforce our law,” Cabreros added.
The official is optimistic that the military in the region will be able to neutralize insurgency despite recent deployment of four battalions to Mindanao.