President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Friday, October 6, expressed optimism that government troops are capable of making Western Visayas “insurgency-free.”
During a situation briefing with military officials at Camp General Macario Peralta Jr. in Jamindan, Capiz, Marcos said eradicating insurgency in Region 6 is “achievable,” considering the decreasing number of communist groups since 2019.
“We must keep on going and we’ll wait for your invitation to come back when you declare this area insurgent-free… I think it’s achievable,” he said.
Maj. Gen. Marion Sison, Philippine Army’s 3rd infantry Division (3ID) commander, briefed the President that remaining armed groups in the region are taking advantage of minority groups, especially indigenous peoples.
Sison said the combatants would pose as members of humanitarian groups and seek financing from international institutions.
However, the funds from the approved project proposals would not be remitted fully to the target minority groups.
While Marcos expressed satisfaction over the Army’s accomplishments in sustaining peace efforts and weakening the presence of insurgents in Western Visayas, he stressed the need to ensure that they will no longer have the platform to finance its operations.
“I would (like to) congratulate you for the good progress that you’re making. Keep the pressure going…I know that the other units are also doing it in terms of the financing. But perhaps, you could put more emphasis on that,” the Chief Executive said.
The 3ID is part of the Joint Task Force (JTF) Spear, along with the 301st, 302nd and 303rd Infantry Brigades, and Joint Task Group Cebu, with areas of operations in Western and Central Visayas.
Region 6 is composed of Aklan, Antique, Negros Occidental, Capiz, Guimaras and Iloilo.
Region 7 (Central Visayas) is made up of Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor and highly urbanized cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, and Mandaue.
The JTF Spear is currently pursuing the remaining rebel groups in their areas, which include five guerilla fronts.
In partnership with concerned government agencies, it allocated farm-to-market and road concreting projects under the Barangay Development Plan for various villages which are in the various stages of procurement.*PNA