Rey Anthony Chiu
Maintaining peace is more difficult than fighting a war, says Army Special Forces Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner at the recent Kapihan sa PIA Thursday.
Brawner, upon whose command falls the management and supervision of the Citizen’s Armed Forces for Geographical Units (CAFGU) and the army special operations claimed their men had difficulty in the shift from combat to support operations in maintaining the development programs here.
The commanding officer said their complicated task came as
Bohol was declared insurgent free since February 2010.
That time, a convergence of initiatives and support strengthened that practically left the local communist terrorists without the convenient space and capacity to continue their struggle in
That same time, an anti-insurgency program that was rooted in convergence of efforts from sectors who have been convinced that reaping the fruits of booming eco-tourism and agro-industry can only happen in an atmosphere of peace.
Now popularly known in government peace-building templates as Bohol Model, the more sustainable anti-insurgency program which addresses the roots of rebellion into poverty had successfully brought down the local rebels from about 400 in 2001 to zero in 2009, says Brawner.
Then, we had about three battalions all over Bohol, now we only have one, he cited even as he also pointed out that 32 detachments all over
Bohol are now mainly involved in development work.
In the incumbency of the peace however, reports have surfaced about communist rebels attempting to reestablish their base in
Bohol, this as military intelligence sources monitor the resurgence of para-legal teams whose personalities were associated with the fleeing rebels.
Recent Regional Peace and Order Council meeting here also confirmed that rebels fleeing to nearby provinces have attempted to return to
Bohol and probing missions have been sent to test the waters.
On this, Col. Brawner explained that there has not been any presence of armed men in
Bohol, but elaborates by saying, “insurgency encompasses extortions and other activities included in their propaganda machineries such as mass movements and rallies.
With sectors actively involved in reporting potential breaching of internal security incidents, he said the reported sightings, more often than not, have been false alarms.
“These were men who were not armed but whose faces, people in the area were not familiar,” he said.
He also stressed that the presence of the semi legal teams: small group of men who are not armed and their objective is to go to the barangays and organize, have been monitored in Bohol White Areas (BWA).
Personalities who comprise the BWA committees have been sighted in areas where there have been insurgency affectations then, and where their legal fronts operate now to get their resources and new recruits, said Brawner.
What is alarming in fact is that “they recruit young students even from high schools in the hinterlands” Brawner reported at the program which was aired live at DyTR Thursday.
Asked how he can prove that, the military commander pointed out: the composition of the recent rallies showed about 70% of participants from the youth sector.
This just shows that a lot of youth are now enticed, he said.
While Bohol has been cited as a model of successful anti-insurgency experience, the communists also want
Bohol to be their model of recovery, he said.
On this, Brawner resounded the call for continued cooperation and vigilance to make
Bohol peace sustainable. (30)