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Army targets rebel-free DC by yearend

Davao City is targeted to be declared as insurgency-free by the end of the year.

“Actually, we have fast-tracked the ongoing community support program so that we can hit the target of Mayor Sara Duterte that by the year ends, Davao city is 100 percent insurgent-free,” Col. Nolasco Mempin, the 1003rd Infantry brigade commander, said in an interview yesterday at the Tactical Operations Wing- Eastern Mindanao headquarters.

There are 16 conflict-affected barangays in Davao City that are being assessed. These remote communities are all located in the third congressional district.

“Actually there are eight barangays under the 3rd Infantry battalion that are ready for validation if they can already declared cleared,” he added.

Out of 182 barangays in the city, more or less 30 barangays are being monitored because of the influence of the New People’s Army. The army is implementing the community support program in these communities to bring the government closer to the people.

The Pulang Bagani Command 2 and Pulang Bagani Command 3 are operating in these barangays. Although, the military claimed that both units were already severely weakened, they need to ensure that the politico-military structure of the NPA in the areas is dismantled.

“For example, the barangay officials are already functioning without fear of intimidation by the NPA group,” he said. “Or the primary issues being exploited by the group were already address by the local government unit.”

Presently, he said they were 80% of their goals.

For district two, the Paquibato district, where the Pulang Bagani Command 1 used to operated, was already declared as conflict-free.

“It is considered as fragile peace because people there are traumatized already,” he said. “So the question is how long can we sustain the peace in the area so that the development conducted by the Peace 911 will work.”

The 1003rd IB recorded no violent incident or skirmishes in the 16 barangays from January up to the present. However, they received reports of the presence of armed groups in some of these areas.

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