“We are not looking for war”- Army

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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – During the recently held press conference by the City Information Office (CIO), the Philippine Army reiterated that their purpose is not to fight but to ensure peace in the province.

“We are not looking for war, our advocacy is peace. Kaya ginagamit natin ang CSP (Community Support Program) natin to enter the influenced barangays,” said Major Noel Alipio of the 50thInfantry Brigade (IB).

The CSP is a people-centered program which aims to bring peace and development in conflict-affected barangays and an initiative to bring the government closer to the people through an immediate delivery of basic services especially to grassroots communities.

Alipio added that in Tabuk, Barangay Dupag had been marked as less influenced by Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs) with expansion in other barangays such as Barangays Bagumbayan, Guilayon, Magnao and Nambucayan.

He added that by conducting CSPs in these areas, they can understand issues exploited by CTGs and who are their contacts so that the government can make countermeasures against it.

The major also explained that there is no such thing as red-tagging.

“Kahit saan niyo po hanapin sa dictionary, wala pong red-tagging, documents po and nagpapatunay sa mga ganyan. Wala po tayung binibitawan na information kundi yung mga nakukuha namin,” he said.

Alipio then asked all their partner agencies to assist them to bring their program “Serbisyo Caravan” to these places with CTG presence to show that the government is on their side.

“Kung kailangan nila ng tulay, bigyan natin ng tulay. Kung kailangan nila farm-to-market road, yung po yung ibibigay natin sa kanila. Kung post-harvest facility para mapabilis yung gawain nila, bigyan po natin. Para po hindi masayang ang pinag-paguran ng ating mga kababayan,” he underscored.

Alipio then underscored that CTGs can still recruit new members because they prefer to go to far flung places and act like they are the ones who can actually help the masses.

After a bit of time, the CTGs then stoke the community’s hatred towards government thus increasing their influence. “Kaya tayo sa gobyerno, dapat ipakita natin ang concern natin sa mga tao. Lahat tayo ay involved, hindi lang AFP. Everybody is concerned,” he ended.

By Edward Joseph Gacuya