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PIA Press Release

Military improves image, clings to Church for guidance

by Peter Balocnit

Tabuk, Kalinga (17 October) -- With the improved image of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) especially from its missionary role of spearheading rescue operations during the past typhoons, the military further sought guidance from the church for its organization to maintain the highest standard of discipline.

MGen. Nestor Ochoa, Commanding Officer of the 5th Infantry Division reached out to religious leaders in the provinces of Apayao and Kalinga to stand by their side and serve as spiritual advisers of the military in the service of God, country and people.

He assured members of the Kalinga-Apayao Religious Sector Association (KARSA) that the men and women of the 5thID continue to perform their noble duty to be of service to God, country and people and make the two provinces centers of peace and prosperity.

"The Philippine society has long hoped for solutions to the many problems affecting our way of life and all well-meaning individuals or groups have continuously labored to find ways to solve our problems as a nation", Ochoa said.

However, he observed that efforts are done separately by different individuals or groups, one reason why conflicts are not settled and issues not resolved because different groups act on their own ways, he said during the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) and the formation of the Church-Military Advisory Group (CMAG) on October 12 at the Man-uugudan Hall, Pastoral Center here.

"In the pursuit for peace and prosperity, all have done it and continue to do it autonomously or as individual groups but something is missing: a consensus among all sectors to work together to achieve that goal", he said.

Ochoa said resolving issues and conflicts as a group could be easily done with the conglomeration of expertise and capabilities of parties involved in peacemaking. "It is more effective if more heads discuss things in one setting like the newly created CMAG where we can jointly conduct fact-finding mission and sit together in seeking solutions to conflicts", he added.

In the MOU, the parties agreed to meet every third Thursday of the month and resource persons from other groups may be invited for the quicker resolution of issues at hand.

"We need to erase biases and stereotyping both on our part and on the side of the people so we can truly work hand in hand", Ochoa stressed adding that the CMAG can be a catalyst and efficient facilitator for the honest implementation of all government projects and programs in the countryside. (PIA-Kalinga) [top]

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