Military-civilian partnership key to better, stronger Oro-A A +A
Saturday, April 5, 2014
THE cooperation and coordination between the law enforcers and the civilian populace is one of the vital keys that will propel Cagayan de Oro toward becoming a better and stronger community.
This was the gist of City Mayor Oscar Moreno’s message during the culmination of the Bayanihan Alert for Peace and Development (BAPD) held Friday afternoon at the Kiosko sa Kagawasan in Plaza Divisoria.
“We must make Cagayan de Oro safe and secure. There will be threats, difficulties and challenges…but what’s important is we help each other,” Moreno told the crowd of military officials, soldiers, barangay folks, and peace advocates.
“The task of making the city a much better place to live in is the task of everyone, not just the mayor,” he added.
The BAPD is part of the initiative of the Philippine Army to immerse its soldiers to the barangays to extend assistance to the people in the communities in various forms and to keep an eye on the leftist insurgents who are believed to be slowly penetrating the urban area.
BAPD in Oro
In the city, the BAPD established its presence for six months in barangays Bugo, Carmen, Consolacion, Cugman, Lapasan and Macabalan.
Moreno said the military-initiated program was timely for Cagayan de Oro since the city experienced one of the most tragic acts of violence in recent history.
“It was most appropriate when this program was launched,” he said, as he recounted the bombing of a bistro in a mall on July 26, 2013 that left six persons dead and scores of others injured.
At the time, Moreno said, “a climate of fear had engulfed the city” but that tragedy had made Cagayan de Oro “emerged stronger and better.”
He said: “Sometimes, tragedies can create opportunity. Sometimes painful events can awaken communities in spite of uncertainties, in spite of fear.”
When the BAPD was launched a few weeks after the bombing, Moreno said it gave the Kagay-anons “a reassuring comfort.”
For his part, Major General Ricardo Visaya, commander of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID), urged the people to help Moreno in his efforts to improve the city.
“We will not develop if we have security problem,” Visaya said, noting that he is glad that the area he is assigned in are also progressing.
“The support shown by the different stakeholders for the BAPD workers is a manifestation of sincere commitment in achieving peace, security and development in this part of Mindanao,” he said.
Visaya said the military has learned a few lessons in its decades of fighting the New People’s Army (NPA) and other insurgent groups.
He said there will always be war and bloodshed if the army will not reach out to the people in the communities.
“No matter how much we try to crush the NPA, but if we don’t go down to the people, insurgency will not be solved,” Visaya said.
He said the BAPD is a response to the move of the NPAs who are slowly penetrating the cities.
Visaya said those who are espousing the communist ideology are planning on seizing the cities as they are encircling the countryside.
“In every region, there one city they would like to take. In region 10, it’s Cagayan de Oro. In Caraga, it’s Butuan City,” he added.
He said the two cities are the seats of the government of the two regions, making them a vital target.
In a statement, Colonel Francisco Pabayo, commander of the 403rd Infantry Brigade, said, “[The BAPD] is one of the Philippine Army’s non-traditional roles geared toward helping the marginal sectors by assisting the local government units and local government agencies on the delivery of basic services, projects and programs not only in rural areas but also in urban areas.”
“The 403rd Brigade, which is under the supervision of the 4ID, will continue to take its part in the pursuit of lasting peace and sustainable development,” Pabayo added.
Meanwhile, Dante Roa, barangay chairman of Consolacion, said the 10 soldiers who were assigned in his village were very helpful.
“I don’t know if they have achieved their objective, but they had contributed something to our barangay,” Roa told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro in an interview.
Roa said the soldiers conducted basic social services to the residents.
“Wala man puy reklamo ang mga katawhan. Okay ra man sila,” he said, when asked if the people had complaints against the military personnel who stationed in their village for six months.
Roa, however, confirmed there is no presence of NPA rebels in Consolacion nor they are recruiting residents to join their armed cause.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 05, 2014.