North Cotabato solon proposes Mechanized Agri Battalion to win war vs. rebellion
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North Cotabato 3rd District Board Member Socrates Pinol said under his proposed MAB, ground forces of the military will be deployed to rebel infested areas to help farmers harvest their crops using rice harvesters, corn sheller, mobile grain harvesters and other state of the art agriculture equipment.
Pinol stressed that the government should set a unconventional warfare by using mechanized farm equipment instead of mechanized battalion using artillery and canons.
“Let’s bring the war against the rebels in an uncommon ground because the real battle fields are in the hearts of the people specifically in rebel stronghold communities wherein the rebels have very strong mass support,” he explained.
“What if instead of bringing tanks, they will just bring farm machineries wherein farmers can avail of it for free or at a very low cost then bring the harvest of the farmers to buyers using military trucks?” Pinol said.
He stressed that it will be cheaper and very effective approach if farm machineries will be fielded in this areas than tanks and canons.
“Tanks are very expensive and disastrous while rice harvesters are cheap and very effective approach in swaying public sympathy,” he explained.
Pinol said a tank can exterminate a whole community of rebel supporters but it can never extinguish people’s disgust against the government.
Anger, Pinol said, can never be doused off but hostility will sprout again and be carried out by the next generation.
“The reason that they sympathized with the rebels is because the rebels was able to emphasize government’s neglect. Rebellion is born out peoples’ disgust. The battle cry of the rebels becomes legitimate as they capitalize in government’s long time neglect," Pinol explained.
Pinol explained that in any propaganda movement against the government, social illnesses are highlighted and people in remote areas “buy the idea of the rebels those causing massive ground support that feed the rebels.”
He said hunger and poverty keeps the rebellion to continue, if the army will be the one who will help the farmers with their living, the perception of these rebel supporters towards the soldiers will change.
For so long these rebel supporters coined the soldiers as “berdugo, sundalong hapon, pasistang aso” and other monicker brought about by deep-seated hatred on government troops, the young lawmaker said.
“If our soldiers will be the channel of change and progress for these farmers in the rebel infested areas, the negative impression will slowly change,” he said.
“Win peoples support in rebel infested areas by addressing government neglect, help farmers become productive,” he stressed.
Pinol, younger brother of Agriculture Sec. Manny Pinol, observed that previous administration’s campaign against rebels failed since it did not address the root cause of rebellion.
When his proposal is realized, Pinol said the war against the rebels will be won without firing a single shot.
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