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PIA Press Release

PGMA orders AFP to create Investment Defense Force

TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte (9 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said yesterday she had instructed the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to create an Investment Defense Force (IDF) to protect vital infrastructures and projects from terrorists, including the New People's Army (NPA) and other rebel groups who stand in the way of development particularly in the rural areas.

The President made the announcement in her speech before some 400 multisectoral participants of the two-day Local Peace and Security Assembly (LPSA) for Region XI which culminated this afternoon at the provincial capitol compound here.

Region XI comprises the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley which are known to be infested by NPA rebels.

"I have instructed the Armed Forces to form an Investment Defense Force. The function of the Investment Defense Force is for the military to give a protective shield to power assets, other infrastructures and minerals development projects," the President said.

She said there is an existing task force in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) tasked to protect the environment and other government assets.

On the other hand, the military would guard vital infrastructures and projects to be identified by the IDF and the local Peace and Order Councils (POCs) to entice the entry of more investments, particularly in Mindanao.

The President said the government victory against the NPAs is snowballing, thus necessitating the extension of the term of AFP Chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon to enable the AFP to continue the momentum and finally wipe out the rebels' wide range of abuses, including on human rights, even before 2010.

The President congratulated the military and the police in winning the fight against the terrorists, the NPAs and other rebels to finally wipe out all menaces to peace and bring development in Mindanao. (OPS) [top]

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