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Davao Region, free from NPA early part of 2021: RPOC exec

The Regional Peace and Order Council XI chairman is optimistic that they can declare Southern Mindanao insurgency-free in the early part of 2021.

“Actually, as a regional chair, we have talked to the Philippine Army, including other provincial governors, we have agreed that Davao Region should be a model,” Davao Oriental Nelson Dayanghirang told reporters in an interview at the Davao del Norte Sports complex.

“The first reason is that the region is the home of the President, so he said there is no reason that we can’t make the region peaceful,” He said.

“Of course, we can’t really easily get rid of the NPAs, but as we can see the trend that was presented from 2017 to 2019, there is a huge decrease,” he added. “We’ll not wait for the President’s term to end, so for me early part next year, we’ll end (insurgency) in the region.”

Meanwhile, the governor also said the boundary areas of Davao de Oro is being monitored. They are also mulling to recommend to the 701st Infantry Brigade that the 28th Infantry Battalion and 67th Infantry Battalion will be moved to other areas where the New People’s Army is still very active.

In an interview on Monday at the sidelines of the Regional Peace and Order Council – Regional Development Council (RPOC-RDC) meeting, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said they have enough funds to develop the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas.

“That is why the Regional Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict was created to house all concerns and what are the possible things to do to answer their needs, especially in remote areas, ” Avisado said.

He said each government agency has its distinct mandate to make sure that the government is being felt by the communities in far-flung areas.

“We will give priorities to the areas that are ready to receive help and projects of the government because their situation is already good, unlike before,” he further said.

Avisado attended the meeting to personally check the gains in the government’s anti-insurgency campaign so far.

“The efforts of the local and national government will combine. As you can see, the direction is for the locals to do something more rather than just rely on national (assistance),” Avisado said.

He also said that nearly 80% of members of the New People’s Army who returned to the folds of the law were assisted by the local chief executives.

“The Davao region is the home of the President, so that’s the biggest challenge,” Avisado said.

In a separate interview, RPOC chair and Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang said they have invited all mayors, municipal planning officers, and engineers and other department heads, including national agencies, to address the insurgency problem.

“So, we have identified the issues and concerns in every respective barangays,” he said.

Municipal and city mayors have a shared responsibility to identify the root cause of the problem so that these could be addressed.

He also said they are looking for the P7.4 billion budget for the road construction going to the different boundaries in Agusan, Surigao, as well as Davao de Oro.

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