BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division reported yesterday to have liberated 33 barangays from the influence and control of the New People’s Army in Negros Occidental.
But there are 212 barangays in Negros Occidental also being threatened with infiltration by the NPA, Maj. Cenon Pancito III, spokesperson of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, said last night.
There are 601 barangays in Negros Occidental, excluding the 61 in Bacolod City.
Pancito revealed that the 3ID is focussed on a stepped-up drive against the CPP-NPA in Negros Island, which has five guerilla fronts compared to two in Panay.
Each of the five Army battalions in Negros Island has been tasked to dismantle NPA fronts in their areas, following the transfer of operational control of 94th Infantry Battalion from the 303rd Infantry Brigade to the 302nd Infantry Brigade in Negros Oriental.
Pancito said that each of 33 cleared barangays in Negros Occidental are expected to receive P20 million worth of projects as stipulated under the P16 billion “Barangay Development Program” of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
The P20 million will be used for the construction of various infrastructures, including a concrete farm-to market road, construction of classrooms, water and sanitation systems, health stations and for the national greening or forest protection program, he added.
Pancito also said that the funds will be released to municipalities where the identified barangays are located and the implementation will be supervised by the provincial governments, and the regional task forces under the NTF-ELCAC.*