AFP to clear areas from terror threats
by Peter A. Balocnit
TABUK, Kalinga (23 October) -- Brigadier General Armando L. Cunanan, new commanding officer (CO) of the 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army directed his field commanders to work double time to clear their respective area of responsibility (AOR) from dissident terrorist threat and other forms of destabilization.
According to 21stIB CO Lt. Col. Francis Lardizabal, who re-echoed the tall order of Cunanan during their recent command conference at Camp Upi, Isabela, the division command is given a countdown to solve the insurgency problem in North Central and Eastern Luzon as the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) counterpart in creating super regions and to bring fast economic development in the area.
What is happening in Mindanao should not be done here in Luzon, he said adding bombings scare investors and businessmen, stop delivery of government services, people live in fear, commerce and trade take a backlash.
Lardizabal said the AFP is behind local government units (LGUs) in implementing their programs and projects. Our mission is not limited to combating insurgents but to help also local chief executives accomplish their activities in the barangays, he said.
He added that military in far villages is helping LGUs bring closer public services to the people. He cited among others the joint conduct of livelihood trainings with the security, expertise and volunteer contributions provided by foot soldiers.
With the silence of tribal conflicts, a major peace disturbance between sub-tribes, government projects are smoothly implemented in coordination with the private sector and non-government organizations, he said adding that the military is on top of the situation and peace and order in the 21stIB AOR is manageable.
Lardizabal assured that no attacks on government troops will happen this Christmas season. He believes that even members of the New Peoples Army (NPA) long for peace and want a break for a family homecoming. (PIA-Kalinga) [top]