From the Visayan Daily Star (Nov 23, 2019): NegOr PLEDS plan vs. insurgency inked
The Peace, Law Enforcement and Development Support (PLEDS) Cluster of the Negros Oriental Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NOTF-ELCAC) recently signed their implementation plan to unite efforts in addressing the insurgency problem and attain lasting peace in the province.
Signatories to the implementation plan included officials from the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation Dumaguete District Office, Philippine Information Agency, National Commission for Indigenous People, and Coast Guard Station Negros District.
Representing the Department of National Defense, the 302nd and 303rd infantry brigades of the Armed Forces of the Philippines led the signing of the PLEDS cluster plan to work with other agencies in the prevention of terrorism and resolution of insurgency issues.
This is to synchronize and harmonize all the programs and efforts in the convergence/interagency operations in doing the key task areas of anti-criminality, maritime security, legal cooperation, intelligence operations, and public communication relations to topple the communist terrorist groups in the province, the PIA said.
LTC. Rommil Abayon, brigade executive officer of 302IB, said terrorism is a growing threat that confronts local security and even terrorizing civilians.
He said he strongly believes the combined strength and commitment of other government agencies play a critical role in ending conflict and achieving peace and economic growth in the area.
Brigade commander, LTC. Noel Baluyan, said that partly the peace cluster is in charge of clearing the guerilla front of CPP-NPA to alert their politico-military infrastructure in the red areas.
He said what matters most is the collective effort of the local task forces or different law enforcement agencies in the fight against insurgency.
PNP provincial director, Col. Julian Entoma, expressed his appreciation to the membersfor the formal acceptance of support, saying “In union there is strength, in unison we will end this insurgency problem in the province.”
“The Philippine Army has the primary responsibility and we at PNP are secondary. But with regards to anti-criminality, we are the primary. However, this is not about who’s first but rather left and right hands, it is a balanced effort,” Entoma said.
In 2014, the province was declared conflict manageable and development ready.However, authorities said communist-terrorist groupsare deliberately conducting terrorist activities, such as harassments of police and military forces and civilians in the area.
With this, the local task force said that it is urgent to prevent the enemy from harming the populace and properties in the area, most specifically in those considered as affected by conflict in the cities of Canlaon and Guihulngan City, and in the towns of Valencia, Zamboanguita, Siaton, and Sta. Catalina, all in Negros Oriental.