BASEY, Samar- Major Gen.Pio Diñoso, the commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division, vowed to protect the residents of this town from the New People’s Army (NPA).
Diñoso made this promise during a dialogue with some residents of remote barangays of the town which are considered to be vulnerable to any recruitment or infiltration by the outlawed rebel group.
According to the Army general, some residents of the town’s barangays are easily enticed to join the rebel group as they though the national government has abandoned them.
But this time, the national government and the Army will provide all needed assistance to them, Diñoso said.
‘I am asking for your forgiveness because we were not able to protect you. We know that you don’t want to support the New People’s Army. You did that because of fear, because they have guns, you supported them because of the absence of military in your place,” he said.
But now that a military camp, the 63rd Infantry Battalion, stationed in Basey, the military official is hopeful that more residents who are supportive to the communist group will change their mind and instead pledge their alliance and support to the government.
“Kung meron pa diyan may agar-agar hindi pa makasuporta dahil iniisip na iiwan na naman namin kayo, huwag kayong mag-alala, ang 63rd IB ay hindi kayo iiwan. Nagpapasalamat kami sa inyo dahil binigyan niyo kami ng tiwala na kami talaga an inyong tagapagtanggol,” Diñoso said.
At least nine villages in the municipality are chosen to be part of the RCSP (Retooled Community Support Program) which aims to identify issues and concerns in remote communities which are threatened by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and the NPA.
These villages are San Fernando, May-it, Sawa, Old San Agustin, Gintigui-an, Villa Aurora, Pilit, Balante, and Inuntan.
More than 430 residents of these villages received food packs and hygiene kits distributed by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) during the visit made by different government officials last week.
The OCD also distributed nine generators that will be used by the villages when they experience power interruption and after calamity and disaster.
National government agencies and the local government units had also provided the nine villages services like medical and dental mission, mass wedding, feeding program, and they also help residents who have problem in land titling.
During the five months deployment of the RCSP team in the nine villages, military and police personnel learned that among the major issues that needed by the residents of these villages are better access road, water supply for their farm, and potable water for every household.
Diñoso said that the government troops was able to gather this information due to cooperation of the villagers and partnership with other government agencies and the local government unit.
“Dati ang Army, ginagawa ang lahat ng trabaho ng ibang ahensya, ngayon nandidito na sila. Akala namin kaya namin na kami lang, hindi pala. Yan ang maraming leksyon na natutunan namin sa insurgency at counter-insurgency. Nakita namin na hindi ito magagawan ng solusyon ng isang ahensya lamang, dapat buong bureaucracy ng gobyerno na we will adopt the whole-of-nation approach,”he said.
Diñoso added that now that the town is close to attaining peace, maintaining it should not depend to government forces but to the people in the community.
He asked residents of the nine villages to continue supporting the government and condemn the deception of the communist group for their place to become progressive and more developed. (ROEL T. AMAZONA)