Mindanao AFP commander vows to end communist insurgency in 3 years
Camp Edilberto Evangelista, Cagayan de Oro City (15 July) -- The command group of the Armyís Fourth Infantry (Diamond) Division (ID), the largest infantry division in Mindanao, on Wednesday vowed to eradicate the communist insurgency in three years so full economic development can take place in the region.
The 4th ID covers the areas of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur in Northeastern Mindanao, Bukidnon, Misamis, Camiguin and some parts in Lanao in Northern Mindanao.
With the big number of personnel, combat maneuvering brigades, battalions and other operational control (Opcon) units, Maj. Gen. Mario Chan, commanding general of the 4th ID vowed to crush the communist insurgency.
The Armyís area commander made this announcement during a press conference in deference to the order of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III to the military to end insurgency within three years.
Gen. Chan even assured of an earlier period, stating that three years is "too long" to do the job.
"Three years is very possible as far as the areas of the 4th ID are concerned," he said.
AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Ricardo A. David, Jr. who was once the commanding general of the 4th ID, had also vowed to end the insurgency problem in the country within three years.
Chan stressed that the Maoist communist-New People's Army (NPA) is no longer considered a threat to national security, particularly in the areas of the 4th ID.
To prove this claim, he said the province of Misamis Oriental was recently declared insurgency-free and had turned over to local leaders and the police the task of handling their internal security.
The Armyís area command chief also expressed gratitude to the local officials for their full support in eliminating communist insurgency in the province. "Thanks to the programs of Governor Oscar Moreno, this was one of the important factors why there is no more NPA movement in Misamis Oriental," he said.
Chan, however, emphasized that when a province is handed over to the local government executive, it doesn't mean the presence of the military will not be felt anymore in that area.
He said the military will still be in the area to assist the Philippine National Police.
Gen. Chan also encouraged other local government unit officials to continue their full support to the AFPís counter insurgency drive. He specifically mentioned the officials in Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur where there are remaining communist terrorists allegedly harassing the rural villagers and businesses.
"Eliminating communist insurgency is not only the problem of AFP but also of local leaders," he said.
Chan acknowledged that causes of insurgency are poverty and education. (muc/PIA-Caraga) [top]