From the Visayan Daily Star (Aug 5): ‘NPA remains a threat'
The New People's Army remains the imminent threat to peace and order in the Visayas, for now, despite terror threats, Maj. Gen. Jon Aying, Army's 3rd Infantry Division commander, said.
“That is why we do current operations against the NPA”, Aying, who briefed yesterday members of the different sugar planters organizations of Negros Island Region security, said. But, at the same time, we are working on, creating, establishing, sustaining and improving the peace and security resiliency infrastructures against possible spillover or attacks by the ISIS-inspired terrorist group, he added.
The NPA recently claimed responsibility for the killing of six policemen and injuring of three others in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, and the raid of the Maasin Police Station in Iloilo, where communist rebels took more than 30 high-powered firearms.
Aying said the operations against the NPA is a continuing process. While they have yet to pinpoint their exact location, Aying said he is optimistic that they will get them soon.
He admitted that the NPA managed to consolidate their forces during the peace talks.
Aying also disclosed that they recently monitored movements of NPA transferring from one island to another in the Visayas. That is why, we are also doing counter measures to isolate each island, and deny them the chance to support each other, he said.
CEBU, BOHOL SITUATION
There is need for Negros and Panay to help each other, Aying said, as he noted that Cebu and Bohol are insurgency-free. But he admitted that Panay and Negros are potentials for their organizations that can help resurrect Cebu and Bohol.
They (NPA) are struggling, but they are doing it, Aying said. That is what are trying to do also because we want Cebu and Bohol to be vigilant, to prevent the resurgence of the communist movement there.
The province of Negros Occidental recently allocated a P21.2 million budget for the projects and activities of Task Force Buglas, that was organized through an executive order issued by Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. to address the threat of terrorism, among other peace and security-related concerns.
Aying yesterday enlisted the help of sugar farmers in Negros island against violent extremism, adding that they could be also part of the community information networks by providing early warning, and also responders in cases of disaster, calamities and emergencies.
. He underscored the vital role of communities in preventing lawlessness.
“If we are active and prompt in the delivery of information, we can have a good prevention and deterrence against lawlessness, rather than wait to become victims, followed by disasters,” Aying said.
. He explained that the task force, working under the Provincial Peace and Order Council and Pro-PIDU ( Peace,Integration and Development Unit), is designed for the four major threats or challenges to peace and national security, apparently referring to the CPP-NPA, terrorism and illegal drugs.