Lawmaker: Send troops to ‘rebel-infested’ Bohol
Gregg M. Rubio (The Freeman) - February 17, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — After several years of being rebel-free, insurgency is once again rearing its ugly head on Bohol, according to Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado of the province’s second district.

This prompted the congressman to seek the re-deployment to Bohol of the troops of the 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Aumentado cited the recent capture in Getafe town of a couple, both alleged commanders of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army, and various sightings of armed men.

Aumentado expressed apprehension that the insurgents might re-group and muster the strength again to launch an armed attack on government facilities.

He also raised the possibility of the rebels extorting from private businesses, demanding cash in exchange for permits to campaign in “rebel territory” as the next election draws near, or sweet-talking farmers whose houses are far from neighbors into giving them cash and/or food in exchange for a “better future” as members of their movement.

The National Democratic Front (NDF), cause-oriented group that form the propaganda arm of the insurgents, reportedly fanned out signed press releases that initially saw print in local newspapers and enjoyed airtime over local radio stations.

Aumentado said that time and again, farmers, fisher-folks, and even housewives and the youth proved their sugar-coated promises as false.

Former rebels surrendered to the 302nd IB and the 6th Special Forces Battalion and the 47th Infantry Battalion and even joined the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU).

These “KRs,” or Kauban sa Reporma or Kanhi Rebelde, revealed that they were promised hospital treatment for a sick family member, education for their children, land to till as theirs was supposedly “an equal society”.

One KR admitted that after indoctrination following dinner, and a night hike until early dawn, they arrived at a remote rebel camp where they were issued and taught the use firearms.

On several encounters, students and women were also shot because they had carried firearms and aimed at government troops.

Aumentado said he does not want history to repeat itself.

Quoting his namesake father and congressional predecessor, former governor and former congressman Erico Boyles Aumentado, the younger solon said the civilian government cannot do the task alone.

The late Aumentado had authored the peace strategy that led to the declaration of Bohol as insurgency free - a two-pronged approach wherein the military wipes out the enemy, and when the smoke of gunfire clears - the civilian government provides livelihood to alleviate poverty.

Bohol used to have, under operational control of the brigade, one SF battalion, two infantry battalions and the engineering battalion. The other troops have since been transferred, leaving only the 47th IB with headquarters in Cabulijan, Tubigon hence, the Aumentado letter-request to Lorenzana. (FREEMAN)

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