Philippine Army sends additional security force to Ilocos Sur

NARVACAN, Ilocos Sur, July 21 (PIA) - The Philippine Army sent the 70th Infantry Battalion (IB), a newly reactivated unit, to the Brigade Advance Command Post (ACP) at Barangay Sulvec here to be part of the Army's Internal Security Operations in Region 1.

The unit is under the control of the Army’s 702nd Infantry Brigade and a part of the two other combat battalions stationed in Ilocos Sur to confront the Komiteng Larangan Gerilya (KLG) South Ilocos Sur (SIS), a unit of the New People’s Army (NPA) operating in the province.

“The reactivated unit aims to help combat insurgency not just within the province but the entire area of responsibility of the 702nd Infantry Brigade, which includes Region 1, the whole province of Abra, and the municipalities of Besao and Tadian in Mountain Province,” said 702nd Infantry Brigade Commander Brigadier General Audrey Pasia.

The unit was a former Cadre Battalion supervising Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) detachments, which was then transformed into a maneuver or combat battalion after it underwent a month-long training at Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija.

During the unit’s send-off held at Fort Magsaysay, 7th Infantry Division Commander Major General Alfredo Rosario, Jr. reminded the troops that their mission is to protect the people and the communities of Ilocos Sur from NPA bandits.

He also expressed his confidence to the troops that they can hurdle the challenges they will encounter in working for the accomplishment of their mission.

Meanwhile, 70 IB Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Eugene Garce assured that the 70 IB, as a unit, will work with peace stakeholders in Ilocos Sur for the attainment of its given mission.

Brigadier General Pasia added that the 702nd Infantry Brigade is confronting three KLGs – the KLG SIS in Ilocos Sur, KLG North Abra in Abra, and KLG AMPIS along the provincial tri-boundary of Abra-Mountain Province-Ilocos Sur.

He asked for the members of these NPA units to trust the government, through the initiatives of various elected leaders.

“It's not good that we, Filipinos, are fighting each other. Can't we trust our elected leaders, who are God ordained, to lead us? There's only one government, God ordained also, which we should all respect. If we want to change our leaders, let's all wait for 2022 when we will elect a new set of political leaders - that's how democracy works. Let's all give peace a chance, denounce the armed struggle which for more than 50 years has brought us down,” he said.

Pilipino kayo (NPAs), Pilipino kami (sundalo). Walang magmamalasakit sa Pilipinas kundi tayong mga Pilipino! Walang tutulong sa Pilipino kundi kapwa Pilipino!” he added. (JCR/AMB/JMCQ/PIA Ilocos Sur)

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