BACOLOD CITY – The new commander of the Philippine Army's 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde) has vowed to sustain the gains in the anti-insurgency campaign in Negros Island as he called on those still in the armed struggle to surrender.
“My first standing order is to sustain the gains in our operations, which should be intelligence-driven along with civil-military operations and focused military operations,” Col. Orlando Edralin told reporters after assuming his post in rites held at Camp Gerona in Murcia town, Negros Occidental province on Tuesday.
He said these are very important to ensure that the troops will not violate human rights and will follow the rule of the law.
“We don’t want war. We really want to invite the remaining communist-terrorist group members in our area to surrender,” he added.
Edralin said members of the New People’s Army that already surrendered have availed of government programs and interventions from both the national and local governments, and have been given a new lease on life together with their families.
He emphasized the role of various national government agencies under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), which is the whole-of-nation approach to attain inclusive and sustainable peace.
“Lives are more important than our accomplishments. We a put premium on that. We are always praying that peace and progress will continue by utilizing collaboration and cooperation,” he said.
The 303IBde supervises three line battalions in Negros Island, including the 79th Infantry Battalion in Sagay City and the 62nd Infantry Battalion in Isabela town, both in Negros Occidental, as well as the 94th Infantry Battalion in Ayungon town, Negros Oriental province.
Edralin, who succeeded Col. Michael Samson, had served as the deputy brigade commander of the 301st Infantry Brigade for four years since 2018. (PNA)