BAGUIO CITY — The Armed Force of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Cordillera have assured that residents and tourists alike will be secured from threats of the Communist New People Army Terrorists (CNT), especially this Christmas season.
The commander of the 503rd Infantry Brigade (IB) and the director of the regional police gave this assurance in separate interviews with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) this week.
“Alert na ang mga sundalo in coordination with the PNP, LGU (local government unit) katulungan din natin sila para maipatupad ang peace and order na mandato natin (The AFP is now on alert and in coordination with the PNP, LGU, whom we are working with to implement our mandate to maintain peace and order),” said 503rd IB acting commander Colonel Henry Doyaoen at the sidelines of the 4th quarter joint meeting of the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC) and the Peace and Order Council (POC) at The Mansion House here on Wednesday.
Doyaoen added the law enforcers are also working with the Department of Tourism (DOT).
“Kasama din natin ang DOT, ine-ensure natin na magiging kaaya-aya ang pagbisita nila [tourists] lalo na ngayong pasko and hopefully ma-prevent natin yung kung meron man silang iniisip na gagawin katulad sa ibang lugar, sana hindi mangyari dito sa ating lugar, unahan natin sila na ma-prevent yun (Together with the DOT, we are ensuring that the visit of the tourists this holiday season will be worthwhile. We hope to prevent whatever crime the terrorists are planning to do, like what they did in other places. We are hoping that such will not happen here. We will prevent them),” Doyaoen said.
The military officer also called on the public, village officials, and everyone in the community to report any possible threats.
“We call on the other agencies, the public, to provide us with information, which will help prevent criminal activities from being perpetrated by the terrorists,” he said.
The Police Regional Office in Cordillera (PROCOR) is currently on “heightened alert” and will be on “full alert” from Dec. 24 until Jan. 1, 2019.
Chief Supt. Rolando Nana urged the residents not to allow the NPA in their homes and in their communities.
Nana also urged the NPAs not to cause disorder in the communities that will affect civilians.
No violent incident
Dayaoen said from Oct. 1 to Dec. 14 this year, no violent incident with the NPA was recorded. “We hope wala sanang mangyari (We hope nothing bad happens),” he said.
Instead, he said several members of the NPA had voluntarily surrendered.
They are provided with assistance by the government through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
The E-CLIP is an inter-agency collaboration to give surrenderers assistance, such as livelihood training and ladderized education system to let the younger ones finish their studies.
During the Cordillera leaders’ meeting, Nana cited President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 17, which provides for “a whole of government approach to end insurgency.”
He all provinces are establishing half-way houses, where the surrenderers can start a peaceful life anew.
“Our surrenderers laid down their arms because they hear of the government’s programs and the sincerity of President Duterte to end the insurgency and have peace and development in the country,” Nana said./Liza Agoot (PNA)