Gov’t revs up anti-insurgency bid in Mindoro’s remote villages

CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal — Once again utilizing military choppers, the Retooled Community Support Program Team of Occidental Mindoro’s Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict set foot in one of the island’s remotest villages on Aug 16.

The two-day immersion in Sitio Mansay of San Jose’s Barangay Monteclaro was in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for a whole-of-nation approach in addressing issues within the community and insulate the people from the New People’s Army’s (NPA) terroristic actions.

Col. Jose Augusto Villareal, commander of the 203rd Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over Mindoro, said “the absence of a 14-kilometre road going to the village should not and will never be an excuse for the government not to deliver basic services to our constituents”.

It usually takes the locals two days to reach the city proper by foot.

“The use of military choppers is not only a testament to our firm resolve to end insurgency but, more importantly, it is a manifestation of our sincere intentions to help our countrymen since what used to be tools of war are now becoming symbols of peace and hope for our people” in the far-flung areas,” Villareal added.

Per reports received by the 2nd Infantry Division, around 800 Mangyans belonging to the Buhid Tribe were able to register in PhilHealth and Philippine Statistics Authority.

These are on top of the free medical and dental services as well as basic farming training by the Department of Agriculture which was followed by awarding of farm tools.

Relief goods from Department of Social Welfare and Development were also distributed following the discussion of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP for NPA terrorists who will return to the folds of law.

Villareal assured the people of Mindoro that “this second RCSP deployment will definitely not be the last and that, under the leadership of the two Provincial Task Forces ELCAC, basic services will be delivered and the government’s presence will be felt even in the farthest portion of this island."

The RCSP Team of Occidental Mindoro’s PTF-ELCAC was first deployed in the same community last July 13.

Occidental Mindoro Governor Eduardo Gadiano expressed his gratitude to the soldiers for "allowing us to use your military assets thereby helping us in fulfilling our mandate of delivering basic services and reaching out to the people whom we have sworn to serve".

“Our close collaboration, coordination and partnership will be the game-changer in our quest for lasting peace, prosperity and development which Filipinos living in this part of the country truly deserve”, Gadiano said.

Maj. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., commander of the Army's 2nd Infantry Division, expressed optimism that "through the active response of the different local government units toward PRRD's directive for a 'whole-of-nation nation approach', the inevitable demise of insurgency in Southern Tagalog will happen sooner than later”.

“Under the banner of good governance, your soldiers will be unrelenting in assisting our local government units and chief executives in addressing the root causes of insurgency so that never again will our people be deceived, never again will our people be agitated and never again will our people be used to promote terrorism”, Burgos said.

Per the military’s records, 44 RCSP Teams have been deployed across Southern Tagalog since May 2019.

Five more teams are scheduled to be deployed in Rizal and Batangas provinces within the month. (PR)