ARMY DEPLOYS 200 MORE ARMY-MEN IN SOCOT
GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- Some 200 additional Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) personnel have been deployed in South Cotabato province to help secure and maintain peace in far-flung communities.
Lt. Col Jones Otida, commanding officer of the Army's 27th Infantry Battalion (27IB), said Wednesday the Cafgu personnel were mainly assigned in upland villages, especially those near the province's boundary areas.
Otida said the militiamen were enlisted by the 27IB last year to augment regular troops deployed in parts of the province. In particular, the new recruits are tasked to help contain the insurgency problem in several upland communities, he added.
"They were assisting the security operations as well as our peace and development initiatives," he said during a peace and order meeting in Koronadal City.
Among the areas prioritized for the deployment were mountain villages in the municipalities of Lake Sebu and Tboli.
The 27IB has earlier noted the movement and recruitment activities of the New People's Army's (NPA) Front 73 in several communities that targeted the tribal population.
To counter the NPA's recruitment activities, Otida urged local government units (LGUs) to exert more efforts in bringing government services to the remote areas.
“We encouraging our LGUs to prioritize the mountainous communities,” he said.
South Cotabato's convergence outreach team has been visiting the province's far-flung villages to bring various socio-economic services.
Last year, the team was able to reach Barangay Tudok in Tboli, which is considered as among the poorest and farthest barangays in the province.
Two remote areas in Lake Sebu town were added by the provincial government as among the beneficiaries this year of its flagship convergence program for poverty reduction. (PNA)