Paquibato villages not insurgency-free yet

NONE of the villages in Paquibato District, which used to be a stronghold of the communist group, New People’s Army (NPA), has been declared yet as insurgency-free, peaceful, and conflict-resilient communities.

Philippine Army’s 16th Infantry Battalion (IB) commander Lieutenant Colonel Darren Comia, in a press forum, said that their efforts continue in running after the rebels and pushing for community support programs to win back the people’s trust and confidence to the government.

Comia said that these efforts resulted to the reduction of NPA members operating in the area as he said that in the past few months, they have not monitored any NPA conducting operations.

He also said that they must dismantle first the mass-based support system of the NPA. Thus, he said that all the parameters must be met and no more NPA would come back to the area should they be declared.

“We would like to assure na once we declare it, confident tayo na cleared na siya. Ayaw natin na meron na namang Lapanday (burning incident), merong sunogan na naman,” Comia said.

He added that with the launching of Peace 911 by the local government of Davao which would help facilitate the development in the area, there were investors already who have expressed their interest to put up their businesses there.

In declaring a certain barangay as insurgency free, parameters like dismantling of the NPA in the area, NPA politico-military structure; the denial of NPA access to the area, resources, and manpower; and the establishment of a functioning barangays information net and integrated community public safety system, among others, must be met.

“Meron pang mga kaunting developments ngayon naman kasi pumapasok na ang developments with the Peace 911 and I hope sooner or later ma de-declare narin natin,” he added.

Paquibato district is relatively peaceful, Comia said.

Earlier, Philippine Army’s 1003rd Infantry Brigade decalred 21 barangays in Davao City as insurgency free including Barangay Alambre, Bangkas Heights, Bato, Bayabas, Eden, Marapangi, Mulig, Sirawan and Tagurano of Toril; Riverside and Sirib of Calinan; Carmen, Tawan-tawan and Baguio Proper of Baguio; Bantol, Buda and Marilog Proper of Marilog; and Angalan, Manambulan, New Carmen and Tagakpan of Tugbok.

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