From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 20): Army recommends 13 more Davao villages as 'insurgency-free'
The Philippine Army’s 1003rd Infantry Battalion is recommending 13 more barangays to be declared as insurgency-free and ready for development, following the declaration of at least 36 areas as peace and conflict-resilient last week.
Brig. General Ernesto Torres, commander of 1003IB, told a press briefing of the AFP-PNP press corps on Wednesday that the 13 barangays will be evaluated as to the presence of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, development efforts in the communities and the dismantling of communist political structure.
Once cleared, Torres said the barangays will establish the Integrated Defense Force.
Torres said the clearing of the barangays from NPA affectation bodes well to the better delivery of services and addressing the socio-economic problems in the areas.
The 13 barangays are located in Paquibato and Marilog districts, which are known as hotbeds of the communist insurgency.
Torres said the evaluation will be done by a team and then validated by the Area Clearing Validation Board (ACBV) composed of officers from the 1003rd Infantry Brigade, 10th Infantry Division, the Davao City Police Office, the Davao Del Norte Provincial Police Office, local government executives and Barangay Captains.
Last week, 36 insurgency-affected areas were declared as cleared, peaceful and conflict-resilient. Of the total number, 21 barangays were in Davao City and 15 in Davao del Norte.
The 21 cleared barangays in Davao City were Alambre, Bangkas Heights, Bato, Bayabas, Eden, Marapangi, Mulig, Sirawan and Tagurano in Toril District; Riverside and Sirib in Calinan District; Carmen, Tawan-tawan and Baguio Proper in Baguio District; Bantol, Buda and Marilog Proper in Marilog District; and, Angalan, Manambulan, New Carmen and Tagakpan in Tugbok District.
In Davao del Norte were Buenavista, Consolacion, Katipunan, Katualan, Kauswagan, Kiotoy, Upper Licanan, Little Panay, Mabunao, Malativas, San Nicholas, San Roque, Sta Cruz, Tagpore and Waterfalls, all of Panabo City.
The ACVB would declare the barangays if they meet the parameters, such as denial to the CPP-NPA of access to the area, resources, and manpower; and the establishment of a functioning barangay information net and integrated community public safety system, among others.
Torres said the Davao City’s Peace 911 was a major factor in driving away insurgents and drawing support from the people in what used to be the hotbeds of insurgency in Davao City.
He said Peace 911 is currently working on addressing the root causes of insurgency by implementing projects and programs in remote barangays, which, only the military could only reach in the past.
“Peace 911 is a big help. Since its creation, it is relentlessly doing development efforts. In Paquibato you will see development activities,” he said.
Peace 911 was launched in Paquibato Proper. The military only complemented the activities of the Peace 911 through its community outreach programs.
Torres vowed that the military and the government agencies will sustain the gains in the 36 barangays by establishing the necessary mechanism.
Troops and CAFGUs will be deployed to continue fulfilling the mandate of the Philippine Army and achieving a just and lasting peace.
Last year, Torres said there were 83 barangays considered as insurgency-affected areas, even as he underscored the importance of the coordination and collaboration of government agencies.