THE 3rd Infantry Division (ID) of the Philippine Army activated the 1st Negros Island Geographical Battalion (NIGB) in Negros Occidental Tuesday, May 16, as part of the measures to strengthen internal security in the two Negros provinces.
The rites held at the Negros Occidental Multi-Purpose Activity Center in Bacolod City was led by Major General Jon Aying, commander of the 3rd ID, after the arrival honors given to Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. held at the Capitol grounds.
"This is one step towards strengthening security (in Negros Island)," Aying said in his speech before the government troopers.
The 1st NIGB has an integrated force of regular and active Army soldiers, Cafgu Active Auxiliary (CAA) members, and Philippine Army reservists.
Provincial Planning head Ma. Lina Sanogal, action officer of the Provincial Peace and Order Council, who represented the governor during the program, thanked the NIGB personnel for their commitment to serve as force multipliers especially in the remote communities of Negros Occidental.
These insurgency-affected areas need peace that is necessary for development to take place with the implementation of the Negros First Development Agenda, she added.
Sanogal urged them to show good behavior and good conduct, and maintain good relations with the community because they are the face of the government in the far-flung villages.
Moreover, Aying said that the 3rd ID has a combined force of 46,000 personnel across six islands, including Bohol, Cebu, Siquijor, Negros, Panay and Guimaras.
These include almost 5,000 regular and active Army troopers and officials, 4,700 CAA members, and 36,000 reservists.
Aying added that of the 10 provinces in the six islands, six are already insurgency cleared – Bohol, Cebu, Siquijor, Aklan, Antique and Guimaras.
The remaining four with insurgency concerns include Iloilo, Capiz, Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental.
The 2nd Negros Island Geographical Battalion will also be activated in Negros Oriental.
The Army official cited three human-induced threats to national security which, in the case of the jurisdiction of the 3rd ID, include threat of communist insurgency, threat from violent/terrorist groups in Mindanao, and threat of illegal drugs.
He added climate change as the fourth threat.
To address these threats, Aying mentioned four peace and security strategic objectives. These include putting an end to communist insurgency, overcome the challenge of violent groups from Mindanao, fight illegal drugs, and lessen the vulnerability of the public. (NLG)