C. Luzon Army, PNP execs to sign new plan vs guerrillas

C. Luzon Army, PNP execs to sign new plan vs guerrillas
By Tonette Orejas
Last updated 04:07am (Mla time) 07/07/2007

CAMP OLIVAS, PAMPANGA—Top military and police officials in Central Luzon are scheduled to sign here on July 11 a memorandum of agreement on a joint counter-insurgency plan that aims to put an end to the communist rebellion in the region by 2010.


The plan, which was finalized last Thursday, is independent of an antiterrorism program being prepared in relation to the local implementation of the Human Security Act, the regional police director, Chief Supt. Ismael Rafanan, said in a phone interview on Friday.


The local enforcement of the new law would have to wait until after the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the law were made, he said. The implementation is supposed to start on July 15.


“We did not delve too much on it [during the conference] because it still did not have an IRR,” Rafanan said of the controversial law that political activists had decried as a tool of the Arroyo administration to repress dissent.


Distinct orders


At Thursday’s meeting in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, he said it was clear to military and police commanders that the anti-insurgency and antiterror plans were “distinct from each other.”


Rafanan said the new, three-year regional anti-insurgency program was made in line with Executive Order No. 546 of President Macapagal-Arroyo.


Signed last year, the EO directed the Philippine National Police to “actively support” the Armed Forces in internal security operations.


Rafanan said the final draft of the MOA recognizes the lead role of the Army in dealing with the insurgency problem.


The PNP, on the other hand, will not only provide intelligence information but will also conduct combat operations in coordination with the Army’s 7th Infantry Division.


“What we are trying to achieve this time is a more unified effort in solving insurgency,” Rafanan said.


Before it spread to several regions in the country, communist rebellion took roots in Central Luzon with the founding of the old Communist Party of the Philippines in 1930 and the new CPP in 1968 and their respective armies, the Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan and the New People’s Army.


Clearing operations


But the plan, said Rafanan, does not employ military solutions only.


“Local governments and government agencies are going to handle the developmental phase by addressing the roots of rebellion like poverty and ignorance through economic programs,” he said.


Military and police commanders are set to sign the MOA in the presence of governors and mayors from Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga Tarlac, Zambales convened for the meeting here of the regional peace and order council on Wednesday.


Senior Supt. Abelardo Villacorta, chief of the regional police’s plan and operations office, said the new program seeks to “clear all guerrilla fronts and neutralize the political-military structures of the enemy in the region.”


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