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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesTuesday, March 1, 2011
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Army drive in full swing
BY GILBERT BAYORAN

The implementation of the Oplan Bayanihan campaign of the 11th and 47th infantry battalions, which prioritizes support for community-based peace and development efforts, are now in full swing in central and southern Negros.

As facilitated by the 11th IB, local government executives and other stakeholders in the peace and development campaign converged during the weekend at Brgy. Pula, a former stronghold of the New People’s Army, in Canlaon City, Negros Oriental, which is being attempted to be recovered by the communist rebel group.

Canlaon Mayor Jimmy Clerigo has outlined programs of the city government, which will be implemented in the barangay. He also thanked Brgy. Pula residents led by Barangay Captain Rodolfo Dulla for their active support and involvement in the government peace initiatives.

Lt. Col. Ramil Bitong, 11th IB commander, said barangay residents have been complaining of rebel extortion activities. Legal fronts of the NPA are soliciting cash donations from them, in exchange for promises of later owning  land, he added.

The activity was attended by about 600 barangay officials and residents.

Meanwhile, the 47th IB soldiers also conducted  medical outreach programs, tree-planting activities and security awareness symposia in Brgy. Bi-ao, Binalbagan, Brgys. Tapi and Tabugon in Kabankalan City, and Brgy. Manlocahoc in Sipalay City, all in Negros Occidental, its commander, Lt. Col. Rodrigo Sosmena, said.

Sosmena said the joint medical mission activity in Brgy. Manlocahoc, Sipalay City, which was participated in by the Kayang-Kayang Missions International and the Iloilo Christian Missionaries, benefitted 1,210 residents.*GPB

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