SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: The Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion (39th IB) will expand its program on peace initiatives in at least five more villages they considered, “rebel hot spots” in Kidapawan City.
1Lt. Silver Belvis, spokesman for the 39th IB, said this was after the successful implementation of the military’s core community program, Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP).
Kidapawan City, with 40 barangay (villages), is considered part of the New People’s Army (NPA) Front 53 of the Southern Mindanao Regional Command. It is adjacent to Magpet municipality, where one of its villages was raided by more or less 100 guerrillas in full-battle gear two weeks ago who carted away at least 32 high-powered firearms and ammunition from village officials and civilians.
Belvis said they already consider 10 villages NPA-free six months after they completed the PDOP.
He identified three of these villages as San Roque, San Isidro and Santo Nino which are near Barangay New Cebu in President Roxas, North Cotabato, considered “highly influenced” by the communist guerillas.
The Army’s PDOP aims to bring the military and the government closer to the people and protect them from so-called, “infiltration” and “exploitation” of armed threat groups, particularly the Communist Party of the Philippines and the NPA.
The PDOP, according to the Army, has been proven to be effective in reducing the influence of the communist movement which uses an armed group, the NPA, to impose its will on the peace loving residents.
JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL