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PIA Press Release

COMVAL residents adopt BDS for protection

Koronadal City (5 June) -- To protect themselves from years of intimidation, threats and human rights violations perpetrated by the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army, the people of New Bataan have turned and adopted the concept of the Barangay Defense System (BDS).

In a resolution filed and duly approved by their respective Barangay Councils, people from barangays Magangit and Katipunan in New Bataan, Compostela Valley Province, threw overwhelming support for the Barangay Defense System (BDS) established in their barangays.

This expressed intention supporting and adopting the concept of the BDS came a few days after residents of barangay Andap, also of New Bataan petitioned for the retention of the BDS.

In their resolution furnished to the 10th Infantry Division and other concerned government offices, the barangay officials presented hundreds of signatures of local residents urging authorities to retain the military as well as the BDS which they say have done much in the peace and order situation in their barangays.

"This only means that the people have realized the need to protect themselves against the abuse, human rights violations, and threats posed by the CPP/NPA in their communities. The fact that they volunteered to protect themselves is an indication that they now have the ownership in solving the security problem posed to their families, properties and livelihood," Major General Reynaldo Mapagu of the 10ID said.

According to the residents of the said barangays, the BDS and the military have been instrumental in lowering the crime rate and lessening the fear of the people on the NPAs who are frequenting their barangays, recruiting young individuals and collecting "revolutionary taxes".

"Duna usab daghan nga gipang-patay nga mga sibilyan tungod kay dili na gusto nga musuporta sa CPP/NPA" the signatories stated in the resolution.

Two weeks ago, Bayan Muna Representive Satur Ocampo and members of the International Solidarity Mission (ISM) called for the immediate pull-out of the military and the deactivation of the BDS in New Bataan. But the people now in the three barangays petitioned for the retention of the BDS in anticipation of possible harassments and violent activities that could be initiated by the NPA.

"Sa wala pa ang 66th Infantry Battalion dinhi sa among lugar daghan kami ug namatikdan nga balaod nga sukwati gayod sa pamalaod sa atong pang-gobyerno sama sa mga yano nga mga katawhan," the barangay officials said.

"We would like to ensure the people of New Bataan that the Philippine Army remains committed to protect their communities. We will continue to work with the local government units and consult with local leaders and organizations in order to synchronize our peace and development initiatives in their areas. Peace and development shall be our antidote vis--vis the atrocities of the CPP/NPA," Mapagu added. (dpao10thID/PIA 12) [top]

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