CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – The Philippine Army’s 4th InfantryDivision has gained significant progress in its peace, security and support to development campaign in Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions during the first semester of 2019.

This was announced by Maj. Gen. Franco Nemesio M Gacal, the Commander of the Cagayan de Oro-based Army Division, after its recently conducted 1st Semester Campaign Progress Review and Assessment.

CPP-NPA diminished Gacal said 4th ID successfully neutralized 1,104 members of the Communist-CPP-NPA-Terrorist (CNT) during the first six months. These include 1,062 surrenders, 25 killed in armed encounters, and 17 captured or apprehended through joint security and law enforcement operations.

Relentless and focused security operations of units under 4th ID resulted to the significant reduction of the terror group’s firearms and other war paraphernalia.

Government troops have captured 67 assorted firearms during encounters, while former rebels handed over 168 firearms of various calibers during the period.

Influx of surrenders The last two quarters saw sharp increase in the number of surrenderees in the two regions. In Region 10 (Northern Mindanao), 359 regular members, Milisya ng Bayan (People’s Militia), Underground Mass Organization (UGMO) members and supporters have surrendered to various military outfits. In the same manner, Region 13 (Caraga) had 763 surrenders during the same period.

This is due to the convergence of efforts of stakeholders backed with the enhanced implementation of Community Support Programs (CSP) in poor, marginalized, conflict-affected and conflict vulnerable communities. The said program effectively bridged residents of these areas to the local government agencies resulting to an enhanced delivery of basic services to the people. Army units across the region have deployed community support teams which help identify primary issues affecting communities and facilitate for its immediate resolution with concerned government agencies.

Local Integration Gacal said that the massive turn-out of surrenders in both regions can be attributed to the serious implementation of the national government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). The said program offers livelihood and financial assistance to all CPP-NPA members who opted to abandon the armed struggle and surrender to the government. Additional remuneration is given to a former rebel who surrenders with a firearm.

As of this report, 999 surrenders have been enrolled to the ECLIP. The program has so far distributed Php10 Million worth of assistance to 209 beneficiaries.

Persona Non- Grata Efforts to rid communities of communist-terrorist influence is rapidly paying off as one city, 10 municipalities and 115 barangays within the division’s area of responsibility have declared the CPP-NPA-NDF and its front organizations as Persona Non-Grata. Local government officials and community leaders including tribal chieftains have expressed their full support to the government by denouncing, severing all forms of association, and withdrawing any kind of support from the terrorist organization. The declaration came after realizing that for so many years, their constituents have been subjected to violence, threats, intimidation, abuse and exploitation by the manipulative group.

Whole-of-Nation approach Meanwhile, Gacal expressed his confidence that the Peaceful War, as 4ID’s overarching theme in its campaign to operationalize the Whole-of-Nation (WNA) approach being advanced by the national and local government, is crucial in finally putting an end to the local communist armed conflict in the two regions.

Caraga region has already taken the lead in following the WNA by launching the Peace and Development Zone (PDZ) as its banner program in achieving durable peace and sustainable development. Northern Mindanao’s Convergence Areas for Peace and Development (CAPDev) is also gaining headway as the region’s flagship program in ending all forms of armed conflict by addressing the root causes of insurgency through focused, coordinated and sustained delivery of basic services and social development packages by the government in poor, conflict-affected and geographically- isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAS).

Under these programs, CPP-NPA identified Guerilla Bases and Zones were subsequently declared as PDZ or CAPDev areas. Through convergence of efforts, massive and sustained delivery of social services and infrastructure development will be undertaken to uplift the socio-economic condition of the people. Both programs are now being eyed by the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) as models of convergence which can be replicated in other regions.

MGen Gacal said, “The significant achievements of the Division are also attributed tothe strengthened stakeholders support and we encourage all LGUs and LGAs to continue with same vigor and enthusiasm especially in the institutionalization and operationalization of EO 70. The fight against insurgency is a shared responsibility and we owe it to the next generation to work together”.

“We are seeing massive convergence of efforts among national government agencies, government and non-government organizations, civil society, religious, academe and private sectors in achieving our common aspiration that is to fully achieve peace and sustain development. We all want to create conflict resilient communities and put an end to the armed conflict which has plundered our country for five decades.” “The next six months are crucial in our campaign. However, at the rate things are going with our convergence efforts, our collective dream of peace and development is fast turning into reality”. Gacal ended.