ASIDE from Toboso, the Philippine Army has also stopped the operations of its detachments in the towns of Calatrava and Salvador Benedicto, also in the First District of Negros Occidental.
Second Lieutenant Major Revekka Roperos, public information officer of the 303rd Infantry Brigade based in Murcia town, confirmed this to Sun.Star Bacolod Friday, as she reiterated that the establishment of permanent patrol base in these areas are not necessary.
She added that army detachment is only temporary.
Roperos stressed the directive of higher headquarters that military camps should be mobile, which means that troopers should not stay in one place and that they should conduct security operations in all barangays under their assignment.
Toboso and Calatrava are under the Alpha Company of the 62nd Infantry Battalion while Salvador Benedicto is under the Bravo Company.
The closing down of detachments in these localities will not affect the operations in these areas, Roperos assured, adding that the Army has actually “intensified their operations as they are more pro-active.”
‘Reevaluate the situation’
Toboso Mayor Richard Jaojoco said the Army has to “reevaluate the situation.”
He reacted to the statement of the Army that establishing a detachment is not necessary, as he stressed that they have to “beef up their network.”
“Kasuli lang (it doesn’t add up),” the mayor said, as he questioned why the Army has to pull out its forces in his town just two weeks after the New People’s Army (NPA) staged an ambush that killed three soldiers and wounded two others in Barangay Isidro. Two weeks before the ambush, the NPA also killed a soldier in the same barangay.
Jaojoco added that in fact, the Army should have deployed more forces because of the killings, as he stressed that the rebel-perpetrated atrocities have created fear among the residents.
Though he acknowledged that augmentation forces were recently sent by the Army to Toboso, he said that the “augmentation come and go. They don’t stay in the town.”
The mayor had earlier said that he had been asking for more troops and police to increase the town’s security.
The augmentation came only after the rebels attacked a farm workers’ bunkhouse at Barangay General Luna in the neighboring Sagay City, which killed two farmers and injured two others on May 22.