• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division was conferred with four plaques of recognition from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, in recognition of its performance in the conduct of internal security operations in Western and Central Visayas, which led to the devastating losses suffered by the New People’s Army in the two regions.
Two other awards were also conferred to the Army’s 8th Infantry Division stationed in Eastern Visayas.
The awards were distributed to the different military units under the operational control of Visayas Command (VISCOM) during a simple ceremony on July 4 at the AFP General Headquarters in Quezon City.
In a statement, the AFP cited the accomplishments of VISCOM in dealing with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), through major armed encounters and strong collaboration with the community.
In receiving the awards, Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, VISCOM commander, cited the military units’ active community engagement as its major tool to effectively address the insurgency problem in the Visayas.
Arevalo said that based on their inventory, the troops have confiscated a total of 223 firearms of different calibers from the 156 rebels neutralized during the last six months’ internal security operations.
Of the rebels neutralized from January 1 to June 30 this year, 103 surrendered, 42 were killed in encounters, and 11 were arrested during joint law enforcement operations.
He cited the strong links between the military and the community in the fight to end the insurgency.
“Much of what we have accomplished is the result of our collaboration and active partnership with the community, the local government units, and the different government agencies who are members of the local task force to end local communist armed conflict,” Arevalo said.
He also thanked the LGUs and the civil society organizations in the Visayas “for their untiring and overwhelming support.”
The VISCOM chief assured that “our relentless focused military operations will be sustained, as we continue our quest for the attainment of just and lasting peace in the entire Visayas region.”
He said the awards will serve as an added boost to the morale of the troops, as they continue to exert their efforts in eradicating the CPP-NPA in the Visayas region, at the soonest possible time.* with PNA report