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PIA Press Release

1001st IB gets into humanitarian projects, keeps war as last choice

TAGUM CITY (19 September) -- Keeping war as its last option against armed rebels, the 1001st Infantry Brigade aims to bring hope to marginalized sectors in its covered areas.

Bannering the codename; PAG-ASA, the Army Brigade whose area of responsibility embraces the provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and parts of the CARAGA region is involving into various humanitarian projects.

"War will always be our last recourse," 1001st IB Commanding General Carlos Holganza said in the Kapihan sa Kapitolyo held at the Provincial Capitol of Davao del Norte.

PAG-ASA is an acronym for Professionalism, Anticipative, God-fearing, Articulate, Service-oriented, and Aggressive; which Holganza says are qualities that it wants its soldier to keep.

With the qualities it seeks to follow, the command desires to abide by its guiding principles, among which are education for the youth, unity and cooperation, hardwork and industry, and belief in God.

To bring into practice its principles, the 1001st IB gets into various projects such as Berdeng Pag-asa, Pag-asa sa Eskwela, Magtanim ng Pag-asa, Pag-asa sa Pag-aaral, Pag-asa sa Kalusugan, and Pag-asa sa Lumad.

The projects have something to do with reforestation, education especially for the out-of-school youth, sports development, moral and spiritual education, health services, and helping indigenous communities access basic government services, among others.

Aside from working with various government agencies and local government units, Brigadier General Holganza said the private sector also had pitched in its contribution to implement the projects.

"We are partnering with the Rotary Club, Karancho, various chambers of commerce, banana growers, among others," he said. "The private sectors have to know that they are stakeholders here. They should also be involved," the brigade commander added.

Holganza said the projects have helped bring down incidents blamed on insurgency problem especially in Compostela Valley.

He could not cite figures of percent decrease on such incidents as there had been baseline to compare with, but he said focused municipalities of Maco, Mabini and Pantukan experienced relative peace as people in areas under the influence of the New People's Army had enjoyed the benefits of the projects.

The 1001st IB humanitarian projects run well with the national development command which Holganza bared to have been put in place by the general headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to give emphasis on the military's contribution to building of national development.

"We maybe soldiers but we are making ourselves busy giving selfless service," he said.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in her recent visit in Davao City talked about the new paradigm in fighting insurgency and terrorism using what she called the "soft and hard" approach, employing humanitarian endeavors on the sides of massive military operation armed rebels. (PIA XI/JMDA) [top]

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