Davao: Army execs hope next President to sustain progress in Mindanao


Davao City – Ranking officials based in Mindanao have expressed hope that the next President of the country will continue to nurture the progress initiated by the Philippine Army on the island.

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In an interview on Monday with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), the Army’s 10th Infantry Division (ID) commander, Maj. Gen. Nolasco Mempin, said whoever gets elected will earn the respect and trust of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Mempin added that the next Philippine leader must also support the AFP and its programs, including its further modernization.

This is crucial, he said, for the AFP to “continue its programs in organizational development which includes modernization to further improve our defense capability against all threats to national security.”

Mempin, who formerly led the AFP’s Civil Military Operations (CMO), underscored the importance of the modernization initiatives that gained ground under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

Under Duterte’s term, the AFP managed to complete a total of 54 projects under RA 7898 or the AFP Modernization Act and RA 10349 or the Revised AFP Modernization Act, while 70 other projects were also delivered.

Around ₱ 125 billion worth of funds was also appropriated for the procurement of these vital and game-changing assets under the present administration.

Col. Darren Comia, chief of the Task Force Davao, echoed the same sentiment, saying better equipment boosts the morale of the Armed Forces.

“We hope that the next President can sustain this kind of attention to our force. We need the items and training of our men,” Comia said in a separate interview.

He also cited the impact of the creation of National Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

“We are hoping and praying that the next president can provide support to the Army as we solve the insurgency problems,” he said.

Mempin said “the people on the ground feel the impact” of NTF-ELCAC, which he said “gathers all the government instrumentalities, local government units, private sectors, civil society organizations, and private individuals to join hands in giving solutions to decades-long insurgency.”

“It’s (NTF-ELCAC) a game-changer…it shows that the military can’t solve the insurgency alone,” he said.

“The solutions to the issues being raised by the vulnerable communities, which are exploited by the Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), are best handled by other agencies of government in collaboration with other partner stakeholders,” he said.

Since 2010, Davao Region has been declared by the national government as national priority area to clear from the influence of the CPP-NPA.

A recent study released by the 10th ID showed that they used to confront 12 Guerilla Fronts (GFs) and 6 Pulang Bagani Command (PBC) in 2016.

In 2020, there are only three remaining GFs, four Weakened Guerilla Front (WGF), and one PBC in their record.

The 2016-2020 study, conducted every five years, also noted that such degradation also has direct relationship with the increased development and peace in the 10ID’s area of responsibility.

The 10ID’s area of responsibility covers the Davao Region, parts of Soccsksargen (Sarangani, South Cotabato, 2nd district of Cotabato and Columbio, Sultan Kudarat), Trento, Agusan del Sur and Lingig, Surigao del Sur. (Christine Cudis)

(Source: Philippine News Agency)

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