KIDAPAWAN CITY (April 29) – After its successful implementation of the military’s core community program, Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP), in at least 10 barangays here, the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion want to expand the program to at least five more barangays they considered, “rebel hot spots”.
The city, with 40 barangays, is considered part of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) Front 53 of the Southern Mindanao Regional Command.
It is adjacent to Magpet municipality, where, two weeks ago, one of its villages was raided by more or less 100 guerillas clad in full-battle gear where they carted at least 32 high-powered firearms and ammunitions from the barangay officials, village guards, and civilians.
Earlier, 1st Lt. Silver Belvis, spokesperson for the 39th IB, told media here that they already considered NPA-free the 10 barangays six months after they completed PDOP.
Included in these barangays are San Roque, San Isidro, and Santo Nino, which are near Barangay New Cebu in President Roxas, North Cotabato, also considered ‘highly influenced’ by the communist guerillas.
The Army’s PDOP aims to bring the military and the government closer to the people and protect them from the so-called, “infiltration” and “exploitation” of armed threat groups, particularly the Communist Party of the Philippines and the NPA.
The PDOP, according to the Army, has been proven to be effective in reducing the influence of the communist movement which employs an armed group, the NPA, to impose its will to the people.