BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The main efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command in the Visayas will focus on Negros Island, its commander, Lt. Gen. Roberto Ancan, said yesterday.
Ancan, who visited Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson at the provincial Capitol, and Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon, said yesterday that the Philippine Army and the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict are “doing well” in addressing the threats of remaining armed insurgents, and the roots of insurgency.
He said Western Visayas governors, especially in Negros, are very cooperative with the TF-ELCAC officials in implementing good governance and the whole-nation approach in dealing with the insurgency problem, and turned out to be successful.
“They are helping our units in the area,” Ancan said, citing among others, the encounter of the 62nd Infantry Battalion in Guihulngan City in March, where families of the slain rebels were given assistance by the concerned local government units.
During his meeting with Lacson, Ancan, accompanied by colonels Inocencio Pasaporte and his deputy, Michael Samson, briefed the governor on updates in the fight against insurgency and terrorism in Negros Island.
He also assured Lacson of their readiness to respond to natural calamities and man-made disasters.
Meanwhile, the Western Visayas Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict challenged the militant human rights group Karapatan to condemn violent acts of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army, to show its sincerity in calling for justice and defending the people of Negros Island.
Associate provincial prosecutor Flosemer Chris Gonzales, who is also the chairman of the Legal Cooperation Cluster of RTF6-ELCAC, in a statement, slammed Karapatan for issuing “malicious and baseless claims” against the government’s efforts to end insurgency in the island.
Gonzales was reacting to the April 16 statement of Karapatan, claiming that “The declaration of MO 32 and EO 70 has long since turned Negros Island into a bloody killing field and the Anti-Terrorism Law has intensified the death sentence on human rights defenders and community organizers in the region and in the country”.
He said the CPP-NPA legal front made “sweeping allegations” but lacked evidence to back the “malicious imputations”.
“This is very characteristic of the nature of the propaganda narratives of Karapatan-Negros in their futile and desperate attempts to vilify and malign EO 70 and the sincere efforts of this government and the Filipino people to end the communist terrorist-led insurgency that has claimed thousands of Filipino lives over the past five decades,” Gonzales said.
He also said that Karapatan-Negros is silent on the recruitment of children, who are being trained and used as child warriors, the murder of civilians, and burning of private and government properties by the CPP-NPA, under the guise of “revolutionary taxes”.*