Maintaining peace harder
Sans sector cooperation
Rey Anthony Chiu
Maintaining peace is more difficult than fighting a war, says Army Special Forces Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner at the recent Kapihan sa PIA Thursday.
Brawner, upon whose command falls the management and supervision of the Citizen’s Armed Forces for Geographical Units (CAFGU) and the army special operations claimed their men had difficulty in the shift from combat to support operations in maintaining the development programs here.
The commanding officer said their complicated task came as
Bohol was declared insurgent free since February 2010.
That time, a convergence of initiatives and support strengthened that practically left the local communist terrorists without the convenient space and capacity to continue their struggle in
That same time, an anti-insurgency program that was rooted in convergence of efforts from sectors who have been convinced that reaping the fruits of booming eco-tourism and agro-industry can only happen in an atmosphere of peace.
Now popularly known in government peace-building templates as Bohol Model, the more sustainable anti-insurgency program which addresses the roots of rebellion into poverty had successfully brought down the local rebels from about 400 in 2001 to zero in 2009, says Brawner.
Then, we had about three battalions all over Bohol, now we only have one, he cited even as he also pointed out that 32 detachments all over
Bohol are now mainly involved in development work.
In the incumbency of the peace however, reports have surfaced about communist rebels attempting to reestablish their base in
Bohol, this as military intelligence sources monitor the resurgence of para-legal teams whose personalities were associated with the fleeing rebels.
Recent Regional Peace and Order Council meeting here also confirmed that rebels fleeing to nearby provinces have attempted to return to
Bohol and probing missions have been sent to test the waters.
On this, Col. Brawner explained that there has not been any presence of armed men in
Bohol, but elaborates by saying, “insurgency encompasses extortions and other activities included in their propaganda machineries such as mass movements and rallies.
With sectors actively involved in reporting potential breaching of internal security incidents, he said the reported sightings, more often than not, have been false alarms.
“These were men who were not armed but whose faces, people in the area were not familiar,” he said.
He also stressed that the presence of the semi legal teams: small group of men who are not armed and their objective is to go to the barangays and organize, have been monitored in Bohol White Areas (BWA).
Personalities who comprise the BWA committees have been sighted in areas where there have been insurgency affectations then, and where their legal fronts operate now to get their resources and new recruits, said Brawner.
What is alarming in fact is that “they recruit young students even from high schools in the hinterlands” Brawner reported at the program which was aired live at DyTR Thursday.
Asked how he can prove that, the military commander pointed out: the composition of the recent rallies showed about 70% of participants from the youth sector.
This just shows that a lot of youth are now enticed, he said.
While Bohol has been cited as a model of successful anti-insurgency experience, the communists also want
Bohol to be their model of recovery, he said.
On this, Brawner resounded the call for continued cooperation and vigilance to make
Bohol peace sustainable. (30)
Entries to “Galing Pook”
Trailblazing programs of both Bohol provincial and Maribojoc municipal governments squeezed into the attention of Galing Pook (GP) Foundation national validators this year, and if lucky, Bohol and its towns can further bolster its claim as one of the country’s hubs of excellence in governance with 14 harvested awards as proof.
By Tuesday, November 29, Governor Edgar Chatto and Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz face a panel of GP validators for the final evaluation of Bohol Rabies Prevention and Elimination Program (BRPEP) over other national finalists.
The program, which aims to make Bohol rabies-free has achieved not just great milestones, but has also attracted international anti-rabies program implementers for its replicability, says Dr. Lapiz, program coordinator.
That has pushed BRPEP to the finals in the national search for trailblazing programs in public health and social justice.
That same day, Maribojoc town Mayor Leoncio Evasco and Oscar Valles also face the same panel to defend their Maribojo Local Government-led Cadastral Survey, another finalist in the prestigious search.
According to mayor Evasco, the town’s entry into the prestigious is an offshoot of the government’s Land Administration Management Program and the town’s concern in settling an integrated development program that would be boosted by increased revenues from real properties.
For Bohol, which has been awarded the GP Award of Continuing Excellence (ACE) for bagging three GP awards and sustaining its gains in 2000 alone, a GP Award for BREP would be a testament of
Bohol’s relentless pursuit of making new approaches in governance which works, Dr. Lapiz said.
Bohol also won successive GP for the next three years for its Coastal Law Enforcement Councils in 2003,
Bohol Eco-tourism Development Plan in 2004 and the Bohol Poverty Reduction, Peace and Development Program in 2005.
For Bohol towns, GP has accorded awards to smaller local government units in
Bohol since 1995.
Balilihan town won its GP for Mobilizing the Puroks for Primary Health Care in 1995.
By the following year, San Miguel town bagged the award for its Municipal Infirmary and Health Assistance Program and Clarin town bagged a similar distinction with its Potable Water Access to all its Barangays in 1996.
In 1998, Loon town snagged the award for its Waterworks system Expansion and Development.
That same award went to
in 1999 with its Tagbilaran City Integrated Market and Bus Terminal Complex. Tagbilaran City
Trinidad town bagged its GP for Trinidad Agricultural Production Development Program. (30)