TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, February 21, (PIA) – In the full spirit of collaboration and cooperation, Bohol local government and it’s civilian sector community organizers are now in full gear in conflict resolution.
At the heart of these conflicts are land-related issues, especially when military intelligence reports reveal that rebels use these problems as opportunities to sow discontent in government and thus regain their lost grip on the mass base.
The same report, as read by Army Special Forces Commanding Officer Colonel Potenciano Camba during the recent Provincial Peace and Order Council Meeting Tuesday, bared the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New People’s Army in Bohol are continuing their organizing efforts to gain mass base in Bohol.
The organizing effort is in preparation of the ground for the re-entry of armed insurgents in the island, considering that Bohol is ripe ground for funds with elections looming, the infusion of funds from earthquake and calamity assistance and the propensity of officials to pay campaign access fees.
Targets in the sowing of dissent are people’s organizations in the hinterlands that they project to support, especially those with land-related issues.
Not to be left out, the army and a team from the Countryside Development Program-Purok Power Movement (CDP-PPM) meet the propagandists head-on, and in the strategy of collaboration and partnership, swooped down to the puroks, to address problems at the root, reports Gov. Edgar Chatto, during his State of the Province Address (SOPA).
But before the governor could state Bohol intervention against the returning insurgents plan, the CDP-PPM has facilitated the coming in of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to dialog with the community of Trinidad.
There, Talibon-Trinidad Farmers’ Association (TTFA), who are occupying portions of the Bohol Cattle Ranch (BCR), at San Vicente, in Trinidad, had been awarded lands through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.
TTFA is a farmers group under the umbrella of the progressive Hugpong sa mga Mag-uumang Bol-anon (HUMABOL).
The portions awarded however, according to the DENR, do not belong to the alienable and disposable (A and D) areas, them being in timberlands.
With the DENR insisting the timberlands could not be awarded, DAR also said CARP is a government program, and has to be followed. But DAR also knows lands that can be pushed under the land reform are only those which are A and D.
With the farmer community now unsettled due to the conflict, the CDP-PPM arranged for the parties to a dialog: and the most immediate resolution would be for a land survey to determine which areas of the BCR are A and D.
According to Agrarian Reform Project Officer II Marcelito Concepcion, both the DENR and DAR, as well as TTFA members have agreed to a resurvey, so the A and D areas could be determined.
It has to be clearly stated here, that it is DAR, and not any organization that awards the lands, stressed a DAR official citing falsity in the claims that some people’s organizations can freely decide to give or take the land awards from members who refuse to accompany rallies and mass mobilizations.
The survey started last February 13 and is ongoing, Concepcion reported at the PPOC. Another coordination meeting is set in the first week of March, he added.
After TTFA, the CDPPPM and DAR-DENR would head to Mabini, where a similar exploited land issue is brewing anti-government dissent.
Also protecting the local group of Hugpong sa mga Mag-uuma sa Mabini is HUMABOL.
Even then, in his SOPA delivered Friday, Governor Chatto declared: Our province remains insurgency-free and stands as an acknowledged model in collaboration and multi-sector convergence to bring solutions to the root causes that fuel insurgency.
Through the CDP-PPM, together with the AFP and PNP, and our partner national agencies: Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), we are effectively and responsively bringing various government socio-economic services closer to the people.
For this collaboration, Col Camba said “From the military perspective, Bohol experience in counter-insurgency remains as the “best model” in resolving the various factors and dimensions of conflict thru the political and socio-economic policies of the local executives with close collaborations and strong partnership among the different sectors of society - national government agencies, local government units, non-government organizations, civil society organization and the people. (RAC/PIABohol)