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Army, IP leaders vow to partner to drive away NPAs from villages

The 8th Infantry Battalion is working with tribal chieftains of Impasugong, Bukidnon to validate a list of alleged NPA supporters in a dialogue helpd in Atugan Nature Farm, Barangay Capitan Bayong, Impasugong on Sept. 17.

Lt. Col. Ronald Illana, the commander of 8th IB, said the IP leaders were given a chance to voice out their concerns on military issues, including the plight of surrenderees, fear of bombing, tagging as NPA supporters, and aggressive military operations, among others.

Illana answered all concerns raised during the dialogue and promised concrete actions to resolve their grievances. He also said that most of the accusations against them were part of the propaganda of the New People’s Army and its legal fronts.

“It was only a strategy created by the NPA to create a divide between soldiers and the community,” he said.

Chieftain Alfredo Tominao said the dialogue was important because, “to make the water crystal clear, you must clear the source.”

“In other words, we alone on the barangay level cannot stop the atrocities of the NPA. The supports they get from the higher level must be stopped. In that manner, they will be immobilized and destroyed,” he said.

The battalion commander also expressed his gratitude to the IP leaders for being honest during the dialogue.

“I admire the IP leaders because of their sincerity for lasting peace. This dialogue has opened our eyes [Philippine Army] on how we can still improve our services to the people,” he said. “This has been our avenue to deepen our relationship with the community.”

The dialogue was facilitated by the Balay Mindanao Foundation, Inc., in coordination with the Regional Peace and Order Council and the Parish Pastoral Council.

The government also recognizes the importance of the church in promoting peace and order situation.

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