Eight more barangays in Paquibato District were already declared on Feb. 14 as development ready and conflict resilient by the Area Clearing Validation Board (ACVB), a military official said.
Speaking in yesterday’s AFP-PNP press briefing held at The Royal Mandaya Hotel, Lt. Col. Rey Pasco, the 16th Infantry Battalion commander, identified the barangays as Paradise Embac , Malabog, Mabuhay, Fatima, Lumiad, Mapula , Pandaitan and Kawayan.
Pasco said they follow a strict guideline before they clear a barangay from the influence and presence of the New People’s Army.
Officers from the 1003rd Infantry Brigade, 10th Infantry Division, Davao City Police Office, as well as barangay and city officials comprise the ACVB.
He said an area is cleared from the NPA when the rebels’ political and military structure has been dismantled and when their access to the community, resources, manpower and mass base support has been stopped. Another requirement is the establishment of a functioning barangay information network and integrated public safety system.
“One of the criteria is the approval of the barangay chairman and then all of the underground organizations in barangay are identified,” Pasco said.
The list of barangays for clearing will be presented to the 1003rd Infantry Brigade before it will be forwarded to the 10th Infantry Division and the ACVB, chaired by Brig. Gen. Mario Lacurom, the assistant division commander.
Finally, the vetted list will be sent to the Eastern Mindanao Command, which will make the final recommendation to clear the barangay.
The two barangays of Colosas and Tapak are under the area of operation of the 89th Infantry Battalion.
“So only the Tapak area is on the process for clearing,” he said.
The 16th Infantry battalion covers 16 barangays, 11 of which are in Paquibato district and six barangays in Upper Calinan.
In December last year, the board also declared Atan-Awe, Kilate and Tagluno in Toril; Baganihan and Magsaysay in Marilog; Gumalang in Baguio; Dacudao, Lacson, Dalagdag and Lampianao in Calinan; Sumimao and Pandaitan in Paquibato; Tigatto and Indangan in Buhangin; and Gatungan in Bunawan as free from the NPA.