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PIA Press Release

CentCom assures able, disciplined troops in Bohol

by Rey Anthony Chiu

Tagbilaran City (21 February) -- Following the pull-out of the 302nd brigade, a top military official assures that the new units in Bohol are competent, dedicated and disciplined.

Central Command chief Brig. Gen. Victor Ibrado, during a dialog between the military and Bohol Alliance of Non Government Organizations (BANGON) doused fears about the discipline and deportment of the new military units arriving in Bohol.

The Central Commander said apart from that, the military is open for dialogs, should a need arise.

The dialog in Bohol was called to thresh out military issues and concerns as well as to clear the name of the NGOs who have been recipients of tags as rebel sympathizers, a Capitol official said.

NGO workers have asked for the dialog after feeling harassed due to military allegations that some NGOs are supporting the armed insurgents.

The dialog, set two days before his unit's pull-out saddened outgoing brigade commander Col Cesar Yano who said he was not informed about the issues.

"Just when we are about to leave, then we have to thresh out these problems," he said.

Citing what he called lack of communication, the 302nd Bde leader may have given a hint to the incoming troops and their commanders.

Clearing NGOs name, Yano said BANGON is a big partner in bringing development.

While memories of martial law years have refused to be forgotten for Boholanos, the allegations and the new units have upped the apprehensions.

Boholano fears mainly revolve around the fact that a unit to replace the leaving 302nd Brigade here is fresh from combat operations in Mindanao. Historically, troops from Mindanao often come in too rough for the locals.

Replacing the Negros-based 302nd brigade is the 2nd Special Forces Battalion (2nd SF Bn), which comes directly from a stint in Sulu and Basilan.

The SF was initially in Bohol under the 6th SF batallion, but were pulled out in 2004 to immediately implement the Bohol counter-insurgency formula in Mindanao islands, Ibrado said.

The 2nd SF Bn shelters under the command of the 8th Division's 802nd Brigade's while in Bohol. With the special forces is the 42nd Infantry Battalion from Samar Island.

Over all these fears, Gen Ibrado cautioned his troops, adding that [we] will not tolerate [abuses] to happen. He also said we would present and submit [soldiers] for investigations through the legal processes should there be complaints coming out.

Meanwhile Colonel Raul Reyes, who commands the brigade to be based in Carmen also urged Boholanos to work with them in improving lives of the communities.

Into his first meeting with the front liners of non-government organizations in a dialog at the PPDO Conference Hall Monday, Reyes was joined by Lt. Cols. Mario Lacurom and Reynaldo Aquino. Lt. Col Lacurom leads the Danao detachment while Aquino would be based at the Riverside Bilar Camp, Reyes said. (PIA) [top]

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