Gen. Yano directs troops "Enhance partnerships"
by Rey Anthony Chiu
Tagbilaran City (21 September) -- BEATING the swords into plowshares for Bohol took two governors in partnership with a succession of at least six military strategists, countless community organizers and almost seven years of getting government closer to the people before the threat of local insurgents was lowered.
In fact, Philippine Army Commanding General Alexander Yano, who lauded Bohol local leaders for coming up with a definitive stand against insurgency, said Bohol stands as a model for the rest of the country.
Gen. Yano, who was keynote speaker during the joint Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting Tuesday aired his discouragement with some local officials who fence-sit, or sometimes help the insurgents instead of siding with the military.
Citing the crucial partnerships between government and the civil sectors that worked for Bohol, Gen. Yano said he has directed all his troops to continue enhancing such relationships with the civil government, non-government organizations and the sectors of society.
"We cannot do the job alone," he said while stressing that "insurgency requires a holistic approach involving not just the military but the civil government sectors as well."
Bohol insurgency met its first tough resistance with a full military force after the infamous raid in a police detachment in Batuan, sources said.
From then on, former governor Rene Relampagos unleashed Bohol's first team of community organizers with the People's Enhancement Program, which was complemented by the military's special operations team under the military's 12th IB led by Colonel Eusebio Ramos and then Col. Gilbert Cayton.
The civilian program sent teams to rebel-threatened and affected barangays to ask the communities residents of their concerns while using culture and the arts as the medium of expression.
Lawig Bohol was then adopted by the national government as a template for community empowerment as a tool for poverty alleviation and sourcing out local solutions to community problems, then Center for Culture and Arts Development head Lutgardo Labad.
As this went on, Col. Cayton was assigned to another post while Col. Allan Cabalquinto filled his seat and while Capitol and non-government organizations spread community empowerment and livelihood support, the military also put up their mass based organizations as counterpart, a Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) Powerpoint-template presentation showed.
By 2001, then Col. Cardoso Luna in tandem with newly elected governor Erico Aumentado strengthened the partnership even more with joint efforts in establishing the Area Coordination Center, intensified Special Operations and the military pressed for the National Internal Security Act which enjoyed a national drive, the presentation continued.
In fact, that time, a corollary mass based organization was complemented by the special forces under then Col. Ronnie Evangelista, sources at the Army Civil relations Services bared in a separate interview.
Under then Col. Dionisio Torina who assumed Col. Luna's post, the army's 15th IB spread the Public Information Patrol while the military believed a crucial propaganda should run parallel to the intensified civil military operations.
The Bohol Poverty Reduction Management Office was then institutionalized at the Capitol to focus on the poverty alleviation component of the fight, PPOC key person Romeo S. Teruel shared.
Its role was crucial in as much as when the military clears and holds a rebel-threatened of infested barangay, BPRMO community organizers move in to organize and develop residents' awareness to keep them away from sliding back to identify with the insurgents, 302nd IB CMO officer Maj. Anastacio Suaybaguio Jr. adds.
Because there was not much of a threat when Col. Juanito Gomez came, the military poured majority of its resources for more CMO, complementing boosted efforts by Capitol and NGOs out to put up poverty mitigating measures, CRS team-leader Msgt. Narciso Tabaniag bared.
According to PPOC sources, Col. Gomez and the Capitol leaders then put up Team Bohol bannering the convergence strategy just as the Local Peace Forum headed by then Bohol Bishop Leopoldo Tumulak drove into gear.
The rest is history and the nurturing attention of Col. Arthur Tabaquero and Col. Jess Dellosa has in fact carved for Bohol a success formula that is worth replicating, PPOC sources also said.
Over all these achievements, Gen. Yano said "There is no doubt that Bohol will soar to greater heights and other provinces in will follow." (PIA) [top]