THE Philippine Army commanded the Office of the Prosecutor of Kabankalan under the leadership of City Prosecutor Noreen A. Pillado-Gambito for securing nine convictions out of the ten cases filed against several members of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) operating in Negros Island.

These convictions are victories that would bring the people of Negros Island and the entire country one step closer to winning the peace by ending the local communist armed conflict.

"To our colleagues in the National Prosecution Service and our counterparts in the law enforcement sector, let this moment be our inspiration and our hope," the army said.

It added that despite the challenges and the difficulties that hamper our pursuit of a just and lasting peace for our country and our people.

In a related development, the Visayas Command (Viscom) through the Community Support Program (CSP) of Joint Task Force Storm and Joint Task Force Spear clears a total of 319 NPA-affected barangays in the Visayas region this year.

This was disclosed following the conduct of the Civil-Military Operation Coordinating Conference hosted by Viscom on Wednesday, December 7.

Of the 319 barangays, nine are from Western Visayas while 310 are from Eastern Visayas.

CSP is a flagship program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) used to clear communities of NPA infestation.

It involves immersion of personnel known as CSP Teams in the identified barangays and the conduct of various community engagements geared toward addressing the needs of the people.

Major General Benedict Arevalo PA, the Acting Commander of Visayas Command emphasized that the ‘CSP serves as a bridge that brings the government closer to the people in far-flung communities.

He said that it is the AFP’s contribution to the government’s whole-of-nation approach, wherein military personnel are immersed in the community to identify and validate issues that are exploited by the CTG in order to agitate the people and persuade them to go against the government.

“These issues will be brought to the attention of the concerned government agencies for their appropriate action,” Arevalo assured adding that CSP allows the government to send its message of peace and reconciliation to the members of the communist terrorists, through their families and friends in the community.

The army official noted that this will give them the opportunity to address their grievances while encouraging them to return to the folds of the law.

The 319 barangays will undergo validation from the Joint Peace and Security Coordination Center (JPSCC) at the national level. Once validated, these barangays can be recommended to be beneficiaries of the Support to Barangay Development Program (BDP).

The BDP is a program of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) that is anchored on the CSP.