207 soldiers sent to South Cotabato

AT LEAST 23 Peace and Development Teams under the Philippine Army's 10th Infantry Division were deployed on Monday in two towns in South Cotabato to implement "Bayanihan" in the form of Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP).

Captain Ernesto Carolina, spokesperson for the 10th Infantry Division, said in a phone interview that the 23 Peace and Development Teams (PDT) are composed of at least 207 troops from the 27th Infantry Battalion and Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu).

Carolina said the 207 troops will be divided into two groups and be assigned to Municipalities of Lake Sebu and T'Boli.

He added that the troops were introduced to the local government unit in South Cotabato by the 27th Infantry Division commander Lieutenant Colonel Shalimar Imperial.

Imperial, on the other hand, said the role of the PDT does not only focus on physical deterrence against armed groups but they would also be conduits of the local government in bringing positive changes in the communities.

Imperial believes that through consultations and dialogues, the PDT would be able to learn and address the concerns of the NPA rebels, particularly those in the far-flung and depressed communities.

"Resolving the issues and attaining peace and order in the respective areas in coordination with the concerned local government units, non-government organizations, and other stakeholders is our mission and goal," Imperial said.

Carolina said the send-off ceremony was led by South Cotabato second district Board Member Vicente De Jesus and Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes, during the flag-raising ceremony in Lake Sebu town on November 18.

Carolina added that during the event, 19 former NPA members also received P50,000 worth of livelihood support from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.
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