Insurgency-affected barangays in Negros Oriental have requested for the establishment of additional detachments of the Special Civilian Active Auxiliary or SCAA, of the Philippine Army, following the recent sightings of armed rebels in Bindoy, Ayungon, Tayasan, Manjuyod, and Mabinay, or the BATMAN-NAY areas, in the province.
The request came after the reported massive recruitment of the New People’s Army in barangays Nalundan and Cabcaban in Bindoy, Barangay Pansiao in Manjuyod, and in adjoining barangays.
Members of the joint municipal peace and order councils of the five local government units approved the request, through a resolution addressed to the Provincial Peace and Order Council chaired by Gov. Roel Degamo.
Board Member Jessica Villanueva, chairman of the peace and order committee of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan assured them during the joint peace and order council meeting, of her full support when the issue is taken up during the PPOC meeting and when endorsed to the SP.
The 62nd Infantry Battalion commanding officer, Lt. Col. Darrel Banez, told the participants at the meeting that it is not that easy to establish a detachment as, it requires substantial funding. However, in the absence of any allocation from the General Appropriations Act, LGUs concerned may contribute from their respective budgets for additional recruitment and training.
He said the minimum requirement for a CAFGU company is 125 personnel who will be trained for about three months, and this will cost about P3 million, including the uniforms, combat boots, and monthly allowance of P4,500 each.
Mabinay Mayor Ernie Uy said that aside from sourcing the funds from the provincial government, concerned LGUs can contribute for the expenses or move for realignments as members of the PPOC.
During the joint MPOC meeting Banez reported that from the 160 SCAAs funded by the province, including their rice subsidy, only about 40 have remained, some of them left their work because of delayed honoraria.
Villanueva said the SCAAs have to wait for six to eight months for their monthly allowance, so a number of them stop or look for other jobs.
Meanwhile, the Manjuyod police is digging deeper into reports that suspected members of the NPA had searched the residence of the barangay captain of Pansiao last month.
Manjuyod chief of police, Senior Inspector Van Joel Tingson, said that while the town is generally peaceful with no high profile cases, the sightings of armed individuals are keeping the police on their toes.
The police is also validating reports of rebel sightings, intimidation and harassments of residents of barangays Namugong, Bantolinao, and Candabong as well as the alleged recruitment of minors to the rebel movement, he added.
In Tayasan, the chief of police, SI Fortunato Villafuerte, has confirmed sightings of rebel elements in barangays Bago, Saying, and Hinabangan, but he said this is not much of a problem because of the presence of Army detachments, in Lag-it, Pindahan and Tanlad.
Ayungon Mayor Edsel Enardecido, meanwhile, said he is worried about repercussions in case of a rebel attack on the police station, and is urging residents to be on the lookout for suspicious-looking individuals in the poblacion.*JG
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