The Army's 3rd Infantry Division has two options for the New People's Army in the four provinces of Negros and Panay that are yet to be declared insurgency-free.
To destroy them, or bring them back to the folds of the law will be our focus, Maj. Gen. Jon Aying, 3ID commander, said Saturday. He, however, did not elaborate about their plans.
Six of the 10 provinces in the Visayas, which are under the areas of operation of the 3ID, have already been declared insurgency-free.
These are Antique, Aklan, Guimaras, Siquijor, Cebu, and Bohol.
The provinces of Negros Occidental and Oriental, Iloilo and Capiz have yet to be declared insurgency-free, although they were already classified by their respective Provincial Peace and Order Councils as “peaceful and ready for further development”, with the concurrence of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Asked if there is a target date for them to declare Negros island, Iloilo and Capiz as insurgency-free provinces, Aying said “as much as possible, we don't want to underestimate”.
“Maybe in the next six years, these four provinces will be cleared. We can achieve what we desire for insurgency-free provinces of Negros Occidental and Oriental, Iloilo and Capiz,” he added.
Under the stewardship of Aying, the 3ID launched its campaign “Pag-Uswag”, which aims to attain peace and security, as well as sustain development in the Negros Island Region, Western and Central Visayas.
The Pag-Uswag campaign plan also intends to destroy the peace-spoilers, help prevent the spill-over of terrorism, and secure the people affected by the activities of lawless groups and violent extremists.
Under the campaign plan, the 3ID is implementing the “Seven Angels of Change”, a strategy that has proven very effective in the Negros Island in 2013, and was initiated by Aying while he was the commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, based in Murcia, Negros Occidental.
The “Angels of Change” model is now being adopted in the whole area of operation of the 3ID, which includes law enforcement and use of force, peace building and peace process, legal cooperation, security sector reform initiatives, integrated community defense and public safety, grassroots community development, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response.
The campaign plan also includes “Marching for Peace, Serving the Countryside”, creation of the Provincial Peace Integration and Development Unit, Church-Military and Police Advisory Group, and Wellness Farm Program, which was originally implemented in Negros four years ago.*GPB
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