From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 2): Army to deploy more militiamen in NoCot to tackle NPA threats
The Army will deploy more military auxiliary units in North Cotabato as the communist rebels continue to create “noise” in the province, an Army official said Wednesday.
Maj. Gen. Noel Clement, Army’s 10th Infantry Division commander, said three more companies of Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) will be deployed in the towns of Magpet and Arakan, two upland towns in North Cotabato near the borders of Bukidnon and Davao, where the communist New Peoples’ Army (NPA) rebels remain active.
Clement said the rebels have been launching a flurry of attacks recently through roadside bombings, kidnappings, and extortion on private firms, as well as preying on civilian communities not sympathetic to their cause.
Clement told members of the North Cotabato’s Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) during a meeting in Kidapawan City on Wednesday that the militiamen will provide additional manpower to the military to contain continuing NPA threats in the two towns.
Clement, together with Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander, attended the PPOC meeting chaired by North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza at the provincial capitol in Kidapawan City.
The NPA's Guerilla Front 72 operates in the boundaries of North Cotabato, Bukidnon, and Davao, particularly in the hinterlands surrounding Mt. Apo, according to the military.
Speaking during the PPOC meeting, Clement also appealed to the local government executives to deliver government services to the farthest communities for the people to feel government service and presence.
He said lack of government presence and services to people in the mountains make residents vulnerable to recruitment by communist rebels.
To the business sector, Clement appealed to owners of multi-national firms in the province not to give in to NPA extortion.
The military official noted that many business owners prefer to give in to rebels’ revolutionary tax demands for fear of violations, terrorism, and burning of their plantation equipment.
“The cycle must stop,” Clement said, referring to traders who continue to pay revolutionary tax to the NPA.
“Inform authorities if you receive extortion letters, that’s the right thing to do,” he said.
Mendoza convened the PPOC following Tuesday’s bombing incident in Lamitan, Basilan.