ILOILO – Its community support team deployment is not meant to “militarize” villages, clarified the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID).
Its Community Support Program (CSP) teams are meant to hear the sentiments and issues being faced by the people in the villages, explained Lieutenant Colonel Joel Benedict Batara, commander of the 61st Infantry Battalion (61IB),
Entering houses in the villages to hear the people’s concerns have the permission of the homeowners, he stressed.
“We do not persist if we do not have their permission,” said Batara.
CSP teams are also very mobile and are prohibited to live in people’s houses, he added.
Last month, CSP teams from the 61IB were deployed in the villages of Guinbonyugan, Supanga, Binolosan Grande, Binolosan Pequeño, and Manaripay in Calinog town.
“There is no such thing as militarization. If their (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army) issue with us is militarization, what about their presence in the villages because they are armed and they are called the New People’s Army?” said Captain Ruel Llanes, Civil-Military Operation (CMO) officer of the 301st Infantry Brigade.
Meanwhile, Captain Cenon Pancito III, 3ID Public Affairs Office chief, reiterated that the Army facilitates the entry of government services in villages.
He said the CSP connects to the local government units and national agencies on the needs of the people in the villages.
In Cuartero, Capiz, Llanes said, the Army was able to facilitate the entry of farm equipment to the farmers in a village covered by the CSP.
“We requested the equipment from the Department of Agriculture – Western Visayas. We are following up the request to issue our farmers of what they need,” he said. (PNA/PN)