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Alleged failure of military and PNP to protect civilians: an unfair statement

Press Release
By Office of the Division Public Affairs, 8ID PA
December 26, 2009

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar  –  Failure of military and PNP to protect civilians as quoted from Sen. Chiz Escudero’s statement in his interview over the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) which was published as “Top Story” in a December 4-10 issue of Bullhorn newspaper is an unfair sweeping statement.

Said statement was aired relative to the issue of Maguindanao massacre wherein the Ampatuans are accused of killing almost 60 people including some of the local media practitioners.

Bullhorn’s title carrier, “Military and PNP failed to protect civilians” in their early December issue is misleading and irresponsible considering that Sen. Escudero was only referring to Maguindanao.

The AFP as always is focused on its mandated task of protecting the lives and even the properties of the people.  As professional organization, proofs were already been noted in its various traditional and non-traditional role of performing its mandate.

The incident in Maguindanao could not be blamed against the AFP.  Although it was one of the most brutal election-related atrocities ever recorded, it was an isolated instance that should not be compared to other areas where peace is dominated thru the AFP.  Moreover, the incident is politically-motivated.

Sen. Escudero is right when he said, “If you are not a soldier or personnel in uniform, you have no business carrying a gun” because no civilian must possess any kind of firearms without proper authority.  The AFP is firm to implement such especially to terrorist-infested areas.

In Eastern Visayas and in other areas covered by the 8th Infantry Division, the Internal Security Operations (ISO) is properly carried out.  With the intensive collaboration of other stakeholders, numbers of illegally armed groups/rebels are notably decreasing due to the Army’s successful implementation of its campaign against internal threats.

Successive encounters against the rebels and private armed groups that freed our local settlers were successfully carried out by the Army for the past years.  This is manifested by the support spearheaded by the local government and other peoples’ organizations who are contented with the service of the 8ID troopers.

This resulted to the downgrade of enemy’s guerilla fronts in Leyte and Samar provinces that declined the enemy’s affectation in the whole region.  Two more guerilla fronts are expected to downgrade for this quarter.

The effective implementation of ISO in Central Visayas should be taken into consideration.  Cebuanos and Boholanos are now experiencing the result of having insurgent-free provinces where development is really atop.

Luzon should also be considered since the socio-economic zone from Metropolitan Manila is now extended up to the provinces of CALABARZON and in Bulacan due to degradation of terrorist rebels thru the success of the AFP’s campaign.  The AFP is generally winning the battle against the rebellious group for the sake of the people.

This sweeping statement depicting the futility of the AFP in its fight against the depressive group for the sake of our people is no longer new.  The AFP’s name has always been implicated in controversies in order to defame and destroy its nobility. 

Although it cannot be denied that while the AFP is striving to bring forth the desired liberty of our people, there are some who are disinterested to the real aspirations of the AFP for their personal interest.  The AFP is firm with their mandate of protecting our people for the benefit of the majority.