The Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade, 6th Regional Public Safety Battalion, Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office and the Bacolod City Police Office are working together to maximize the use of their manpower and logistical resources in addressing security concerns, by strengthening the newly-created Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center.
Col. Oscar Lactao, 303rd IB commander, yesterday said the joint military and police operations against the New People’s Army, especially in northern Negros, has proven to be successful.
In tandem with the 6th RPSB and other police units, Lactao said, they have initiated 137 small unit operations in just one month, aimed at preventing the NPA from staging terroristic activities that have led to seven government-initiated encounters.
The enhanced JPSCC memorandum of agreement contains plans for joint military operations against lawless groups, armed and other threat groups.
As stipulated in the JPSCC memorandum of agreement, the AFP and PNP will coordinate, compliment, cooperate, communicate, interact and help each in the implementation of their tasks and responsibilities.
The joint peace and development efforts of the PNP and Philippine Army also led to the conduct of three medical outreach programs in the countrysides, benefitting more than 1,000 Negrenses. They have also facilitated the surrender of 13 former rebels, who recently availed of livelihood and financial assistance from the provincial government of Negros Occidental.
Lactao said the enhanced JPSCC memorandum of agreement will be signed between military and police commanders in September, in the presence of local government chief executives headed by Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr.
Lactao, meanwhile, said the timely information relayed to them by civilians has enhanced coordination between military and police commanders, down to the lower units, triggered armed skirmishes in the hinterlands of Escalante, Toboso, Calatrava and Sipalay City.
Three police troopers and three soldiers were hurt in failed assassination attempt and encounters in the cities of Escalante and Sipalay, while two rebels reportedly died, and three were captured in sporadic gunbattles, in the past two weeks, military and police records showed.
The military estimates that the NPA has about 200 members operating in Negros Occidental.*GPB