By ANNA FELICIA BAJO, GMA Integrated News
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Friday expressed confidence that Western Visayas will be free from communist insurgency given the decreasing number of communist rebels in the region.
“We must keep on going and we’ll wait for your invitation to come back when you declare this area insurgent-free… I think it’s achievable,” Marcos said in a situation briefing with security officers in Camp General Macario Peralta Jr. in Jamindan, Capiz.
Marcos said he is satisfied with the accomplishments of the Philippine Army in sustaining peace efforts and weakening the presence of communist rebels in the region, as he stressed the need to ensure that the insurgent groups will no longer have the platform to finance its operations.
“I would [like to] congratulate you for the good progress that you’re making. Keep the pressure going… I know that the other units are also doing it in terms of the financing. But perhaps, you could put more emphasis on that,” he told the soldiers.
According to Philippine Army 3rd infantry Division Commander Major General Marion Sison, the rebels are taking advantage of minority groups, especially the indigenous peoples.
He said the rebels are posing as members of humanitarian group that seeks financing from international institutions. However, the money they would get from the approved project proposals they submit abroad will not be remitted fully to the projects of their target minor groups.
The 3rd Infantry Division is part of the Joint Task Force (JTF) Spear, along with 301st Infantry Brigade, 302nd Infantry Brigade, 303rd Infantry Brigade, and Joint Task Group Cebu, with areas of operations covering Western Visayas and Central Visayas.
The JTF Spear is currently pursuing the remaining communist groups in their area, which include five guerilla fronts. —KBK, GMA Integrated News