Author Topic: Samar town forms team vs. Reds  (Read 2381 times)

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Samar town forms team vs. Reds
« on: September 15, 2019, 08:46:38 AM »
Samar town forms team vs. Reds
By Sarwell Meniano  September 13, 2019, 3:49 pm

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1080400

TACLOBAN CITY -- Local officials in Calbiga, Samar, where the New People’s Army (NPA) has launched its first tactical operation 45 years ago, formed a task force to help end insurgency in their communities.

Lt. Col. Rhomel Langcauon, acting commander of the Philippine Army 46th Infantry Battalion, said the municipal task force to end the local communist armed conflict (MTP-ELCAC) gathered at the town hall on Thursday for their organizational meeting and orientation.

The group, led by Mayor Melchor Nacario, is composed of members of the local police station, Bureau of Fire Protection, municipal council members, 11 village chiefs, local government unit department heads, and school officials.

The formation of the municipal task force operationalizes Executive Order 70 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte on Dec. 4, 2018.

The directive also institutionalizes a “whole-of-nation approach” in attaining an “inclusive and sustainable peace.”

“This is a positive development since we need the support of local government officials as our community support program teams work hard to address issues in villages exploited by insurgents. We want to eventually end local communist armed conflict without using any single bullet,” Langcauon said in a statement issued on Friday.

Among the key officials, who oriented task force members are Imelda Bonifacio, area manager of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, and lawyer Enrico Banario from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

Langcauon said the organization of the task force is very crucial since there are still 11 villages in the town identified as affected by activities of the communist terrorist group.

Calbiga is the second town to form the MTP-ELCAC after nearby Pinbacdao town.

Some of the villages in Calbiga have been known as sites of clashes between government troops and armed rebels. One of the bloodiest gun battles was on April 23, 2019, where six soldiers died and six others were hurt.

“Calbiga has the highest number of NPA-affected areas in Samar province, which is the target for immersion of retooled community support program (CSP) team,” he added.

The CSP deployments aim to facilitate the government’s development programs by hearing issues and concerns of vulnerable villagers and bring them to the attention of concerned government offices.

Samar Island is considered as one of the strongholds of armed rebels due to its densely-forested mountainous areas, high poverty incidence, and the issue of widespread landlessness, based on a 2013 study of William Norman Holden of the University of Calgary in Canada.

The NPA launched its first tactical operation in the country in Calbiga, Samar in 1974, when its members ambushed an Army scout patrol and seized a number of weapons.

In 1976, the NPA gained popular support among the people of Samar following its actions against cattle-rustling gangs.

The NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)