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PIA Press Release

Fresh troops arrive in Davao region

Camp Felix Apolinario, Panacan, Davao City (25 May) -- Fresh troops from Luzon arrived in Davao region 6:00 AM Sunday following atrocities committed by the New People's Army in different parts of the region.

The 71st Infantry Battalion led by Lt. Col. Camilo Ligayo arrived at Hijo beach in Madaum, Tagum City ferried by Navy ships straight from Manila to augment troops currently on hot pursuit operation against NPA terrorists responsible in a deadly ambush in Maragusan town in Compostela Valley (ComVal) province a day after the election which resulted to the death of five individuals and wounded 12 soldiers and civilians.

The new troops are also to augment soldiers who are on a mission to rescue four government troops being held hostage by the NPA in ComVal.

Governor Arturo Uy of ComVal welcomed the arrival of the troops saying they will help in the maintenance of peace and order. "Some might criticize the arrival of new troops as militarization but it is not. It is the will of the people to have additional troops to stabilize our place.

Their presence is needed to refrain those bringing chaos so that progress and development can creep in. We can take the example of New Bataan with the arrival of 66IB led by then Lt. Col. Manuel Sequitin, they brought relative peace there and New Bataan is now gradually moving forward," the governor said.

It may be recalled that abductions have been committed largely by the NPA victimizing unarmed government troops, candidates and public officials. Many innocent civilians have also been their victims in their continued killings and they have been planting bombs on roads and bridges. Recently, NPAs ambushed soldiers near a populated place in the Toril District in Davao City which put the lives of civilians in great danger.

Maj. Gen. Carlos Holganza, commander of the Army's 10th Infantry Division immediately issued the marching order to the new troops in light with the atrocities the NPA committed. "We cannot go on forever like this; we cannot let such despicable acts go unpunished. The Armed Forces of the Philippines bowed to the clamor of the people to bring these terrorists to justice. It is our sworn duty to protect our people and bring stability in this region," Holganza said.

Authorities said another infantry battalion and units from Special Forces and Scout Ranger together with Engineer, Medical and Civil Military Operations units will also arrive for peace and development projects and community outreach in the next couple of weeks.

"The arrival of new troops will not mean war but enhanced security measures to protect our people. We have to put criminals behind bars. The troops that will be arriving will also ensure that peace and development efforts will be paramount and that the rights of the people will be respected at all times," Holganza concluded.

Davao region is one of the national priority areas in the country due to the presence of armed groups actively terrorizing people and extorting money from businesses and ordinary citizens. (PA Public Affairs Officer) [top]

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