A TOTAL of 220 additional troops of the Philippine Army from Panay Island were distributed to various battalions in Negros Island since December last year.

The additional troops were dispatched to the 302nd and 303rd Infantry Brigades (IBde) in Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental, respectively, with the arrival of the 94th Infantry Battalion (IB) in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental on Wednesday, January 30.

The bravo company of 94th IB composed of 120 soldiers were previously placed under the 301st IBde for six months, who are responsible for the conduct of internal security operations in Panay Island.

They also helped the Panay army forces in the series of successfully armed clashes against the New People’s Army (NPA).

On January 28, they were sent-off by the 301st IBde at the Iloilo seaport in Iloilo City in order to report to their mother unit, the 94th IB, in Tanjay, Negros Oriental.

As this developed, 100 new privates, who underwent training from the 3rd Infantry Division based in Jamindan, Capiz joined the army forces in Negros and were deployed in the different army battalions.

The deployment of the additional troops is in compliance with the order of President Rodrigo Duterte based on Memorandum Order 32 on November 23, 2018.

Duterte ordered the immediate deployment of troops to Samar, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, and Bicol in an effort to thwart lawless violence and acts of terror in these areas.

For his part, Colonel Benedict Arevalo, commander of 303rd IBde, said he welcome all the additional troops deployed in Negros as a boost in their campaign against the communist rebels.

He ordered his men “to aggressively run after the NPAs and prevent them from conducting atrocities and extortion especially that the election period is fast approaching.”

Also, the 3ID is in the process of recruiting 200 more soldiers to further beef-up the army units in Western and Central Visayas.

“Our numbers is enough to pursue the NPAs. And with the support of other communities, local government units and agencies, the numbers will continue to grow until these terrorist NPAs have no more to run to,” Arevalo said.

Arevalo said these troops will strengthen the existing forces in the province to fight against terrorism. (GYM)