Civil-military activities to end insurgency, says 501-IB chief
TABUK CITY (7 September) -- An Army officer based here believes that with the local government units (LGUs) at the forefront on the drive against insurgency through the soft power of development and the hard power of the military at its side, the root causes of insurgency could be addressed.
Col. Roberto Morales, Commanding Officer of the 501st Infantry Brigade said civil-military operation has proven to be an effective approach in dealing with the insurgency problem.
He said the military alone could not solve the problem so the need for the civil government to provide programs and projects and render honest public service to the public. He shares the view that from mere supporting casts in the past, LGUs must play high-profile roles in the government's campaign to end the communist insurgency that has hounded the country for the past 35 years.
"It is through the provision of sustainable livelihood projects with the corresponding capital, construction and improvement of priority infrastructure, seriously bringing social and health services closer to the masses that would answer the reasons why people rebel against government," Col. Morales explained.
He said this is the meaning of total out war: a combination of force and development intervention. "We provide the security while the civil government implements its programs and projects and doing public service in the barangays.
"Our soldiers are also willing to provide assistance for the construction of classrooms, day care and health centers, water systems, other forms of manual labor and deliver dental, health and teaching services," he said.
On the other hand, DILG Provincial Director Francisco Gamatero enjoined the local government units to emulate the Bohol experience where end-goals of the so-called soft power of development are the reduction of poverty, alliance-building, convergence, community organizing, capability–building and self-reliance.
Gamatero informed that the proposal for the grant of amnesty to the NPAs was presented to local officials in the province and is now under study. "They have their (LGUs) own peace plans, it's up to them to formulate how they could support the proposed national amnesty program and how it applies in their respective localities," he added.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is determined to put an end to the communist insurgency. The President will reconvene the National Security Council (NSC), with local executives and lawmakers in attendance, to discuss the implementation of the local peace initiatives as a component of an amnesty proclamation.
The President signed last March Administrative Order 172 creating the National Committee on Social Integration to strengthen government efforts to help rebel returnees. A number of communist rebels have expressed interest in returning to the folds of the law and live normal lives, but they are afraid of being arrested and prosecuted for non-political crimes. (PIA-Kalinga) [top]