A NORTHERN Mindanao police official, on Tuesday, January 24, expressed optimism that the new security campaign of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), dubbed "Oplan Kapayapaan," will build on the shortcomings of past security plans.
Police regional director Chief Superintendent Agripino Javier said Oplan Kapayapaan, the Duterte administration’s new counter-insurgency strategy, will take note of the limitations of Oplan Bayanihan.
The Northern Mindanao and Caraga regional offices of the PNP and the 4th Infantry Division (4ID) of the AFP signed a memorandum of agreement Tuesday on Oplan Kapayapaan at Camp Edilberto Evangelista.
The campaign aims to join the forces of the AFP and PNP in Northern Mindanao and the Caraga region in training and operations in combating terrorism in the said areas.
The campaign also taps the capacity of both forces in response to disaster and risk reduction and to criminality.
"This campaign will help harmonize our actions in some field like for us in the AFP we will help conduct training and community support programs and we invite our counterparts from the PNP. And in turn the PNP has agreed to orient us with the legal aspects of law enforcement. Also, we have seen some areas of convergence where we can improve further," said 4ID Commander Major General Benjamin Madrigal Jr. said.
In connection to the implications that this memorandum of agreement can give to the ongoing peace talks, the signatories are positive that the campaign plan will further encourage and promote peace instead of hampering it.
"Through this we hope to strengthen our forces through cooperation, and it is right that we are doing this action because we aim to be preemptive of what might happen. It is good in our part in the PNP that we had a meeting with the AFP so that we will be oriented of their plans and we will be able to adjust these in our plans," said PRO-Caraga Director Superintendent Rolando Felix.
The 4ID, meanwhile, has kicked off its 47th year anniversary with a barrio fiesta-themed celebration called "Peaceta sa 4ID" on Tuesday.
The campaign for peace and the appreciation for homegrown Mindanaoan products were put on center stage in this celebration
The AFP promotes its campaign for peace and appreciation for homegrown Mindanao products where booths displaying native products were set up at the camp. These booths were arranged by the division's personnel and its products came from the Division's field areas.
This bazaar will be open for visitors from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. until February 5.
Other activities are included in this celebration such as the "5-day Rifle Squad and Disaster Response Operations Challenge" which aimed to assess and improve the performance of the Division's troops in response to disasters.
Madrigal Jr. said that the celebration of the 4ID is rooted from the peace that is now being experienced in many parts of the country especially in the field areas of the 4ID such as the Northern Mindanao and the Caraga region.
"It is heartwarming to see that the military is transforming into more than the military but also as a tool for the development of the community," said Cagayan de Oro city mayor Oscar Moreno, who came as guest.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 25, 2017.