AFP Confirms Bohol Still Insurgency-Free
Bohol remains free from the grip of communist insurgents due to the strong presence of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) here and the active cooperation of the public and various local governments units (LGUs), a top rank AFP official has said.
The confirmation came even as pockets of New People's Army (NPA) attacks, deemed economic sabotage, rocked various parts of the country, most recent of which was the deadly attack in Del Monte and DOLE plantations in Bukidnon province.
AFP's Vice-Chief of Staff Lt Gen Alan Luga said the AFP recognizes the sustained efforts of the Provincial Government of Bohol in maintaining Bohol free from the influence of communist insurgents which, he said, serves as model in the whole country.
"The economic development of Bohol and its tourism boom can only be sustained when there is peace and security in the province," Luga said during Thursday's graduation ceremony of Boholano community organizers tapped in Capitol's Purok Power Movement.
Luga came to Bohol Thursday to deliver the message of AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista for the new community organizers trained by AFP. He also witnessed the turnover of giant clams to a marine protected-area council in Bingag, Dauis.
Earlier, Lt Col. Julius Ancheta Tomines, commander of the 2nd Special Forces Battalion based in Carmen, Bohol, told the Chronicle that growing public awareness has made it difficult for communists to establish a stronghold in the province.
Meanwhile, Gov. Edgar M. Chatto, in a graduation message at the Bohol Cultural Center, said the provincial government is committed to work closely with the AFP in securing Bohol as a peaceful and safe eco-tourism destination of the country.
Chatto launched the PUROK system, an offshoot to AFP-LGU partnership dubbed as IPSP (Internal Peace and Security Plan) Bayanihan, as a comprehensive and strategic approach to public governance whereby government projects and programs are served to the people at the purok level.
Bohol's peace and security programs have earned awards from the AFP, aside from DILG's "Best Governed Province of the Philippines" award which Bohol had received in two successive years, and DSWD's "Gawad Sa Paglilingkod ng Sambayanan" or GAPAS Award for Bohol.
In delivering Bautista's message, Luga said that Bohol's Countryside Development Program: Purok Power Movement (CDP-PPM), technically supervised by SEEM Cluster Head Liza M. Quirog, has helped establish an effective system for the management and implementation of various programs for agriculture, health services, infrastructure, environment, sanitation, education, sports and youth development.
"The Armed Forces of the Philippines recognizes the need to approach our country's peace and security concerns with deep understanding of other issues connected to them, and the expected results on other fields, particularly on the welfare of our people, economy, and the environment," Luga said.
"Through this partnership, we have pushed for and succeeded with projects in education, medical outreach programs, internal security and disaster management, with other government agencies and civilian groups and organizations," he added.
Luga underscored Bohol provincial government's initiatives in support of the various programs of the AFP, particularly in the implementation of our IPSP Bayanihan, "as a great example of how unity can help uplift our fellow people and develop a peaceful society through a whole-of-nation approach."
The second-in-rank AFP chief pointed out that the new community organizers (in Bohol) "will be of great addition to the working group in our joint project creating a peaceful and prosperous province, free of threats coming from groups who wish to sow discord among the citizens, and only preoccupied with the welfare of our citizens."
"With your training and understanding of the needs of the community, I believe you will be one of the many competent allies of public servants in promoting peace and people's welfare in the communities you will be organizing and helping to develop in the near future," he told the community organizers coming from various Bohol towns.