Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, said yesterday that the spate of New People’s Army attacks against civilians, destruction of properties and other soft targets will not discourage, or deter them from pursuing their peace and development efforts in the countryside of Negros.
“Despite the violent acts perpetrated by the NPA, we will continue with our peace and development activities, because our people deserve it,” Bautista said.
Military records show that seven civilians suspected as military informants and a member of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit have been executed by the NPA in Negros lately.
“I think it Is about time that, we, as a people unite and condemn this senseless violence”, Bautista said.
Stressing that the solution to the insurgency problem is not violence or armed struggle, he said “It is for us to come together as Filipinos to solve the problem under the spirit of Bayanihan.”
In recent months, suspected NPA rebels burned three farm tractors in EB Magalona, raided the fish farm of a prominent businessman in Sagay City, and destroyed and burned mining equipment in Sipalay City, police records also show.
Bautista, who conferred Wounded Personnel Medals yesterday on injured 2Lt. Rigor Borja and Cpl. Juanito Fernando at the Southern Negros Doctor’s Hospital, said the continued violence perpetrated by the NPA will inspire them further to pursue their peace and development mission.
He said the deployment of Army peace and development teams, of which Borja and Fernando are members, is aimed at identifying and facilitating solutions to problems confronting remote communities.
Bautista, however, said military operations against those who will wage an armed struggle and espouse violence, will continue. “This is our mandate to preserve the peace, and to deter threats to security of the country”, he added.
Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra yesterday called on Negrenses to pray, as a form of intervention, to stop the escalation of violence between the NPA and government troopers in Negros island.
Armed skirmishes between soldiers and armed rebels have taken place in the hinterlands of northern Negros, and have resulted in injuries to members from both sides.
Navarra said both parties should refrain from resorting to violence.*GPB