CEBU, July 2 (PIA) — In its own initiative to support the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), the Philippine Air Force Civil Military Operations (PAF CMO) launched during the weekend ‘Usapang Pangkapayapaan, Usapang Pangkaunlaran’ or UP UP Cebu forum at the BGen. Benito Ebuen Air Base in Lapulapu City, Cebu.
Assistant chief of air staff for CMO, Col. Gerardo Zamudio Jr., said the UP UP Cebu provides a venue to communicate to the public that armed struggle is not the remedy to achieve peace.
“During the time of the Marcos era, the New People’s Army (NPAs) numbered around 27,000; but today, the figure has dwindled to about 3,000 and yet, the war still continues,” said Zamudio.
Now, most of the casualties however are from the NPA side, he added.
Zamudio further said the most gullible to recruitment are students that start out as activists until they end up training for war to fight against government troops.
Veteran journalist Rey Langit, who is also the president of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) Metro Manila Chapter, hosted the pilot episode of the UP UP Cebu forum, detailing his stints with the PAF covering various events over the years.
According to Langit, PAF has always been there to lend help in case he needed it and in turn, he is supporting its efforts to promote peace advocacies like the UP UP fora initiatives throughout the country.
Basically, the forum invites government agencies to talk on their programs and services for the public to be informed that government’s intention is to improve the lives of communities and fast track development, said Zamudio.
“We have a government that is more responsive and we need to let the public know that armed struggle will lead us nowhere. It is time that we need to promote messages of peace and save lives of students, who are at risk of recruitment by the NPA,” said Zamudio.
In Central Visayas, the province of Negros Oriental has been identified as the only remaining hotbed of insurgency.
Just recently, the military figured in an encounter with about 20 rebels, which left one soldier dead and wounding two others in Manjuyod town on June 22, 2019.
Zamudio said there is a need to inform the public on government efforts to end local communist armed conflict for development to fully prosper especially in areas beleaguered by the NPA.
During the UP UP Cebu forum, invited panelists are regional heads from the National Economic and Development Authority and the Philippine Information Agency 7, as well as top representatives from the Regional Development Council 7, KBP-Cebu Chapter, and the AFP-Central Command.
After the forum, PAF-CMO inked an agreement with Radyo Pilipinas Cebu to continue the UP UP Cebu forum over the airwaves.
The Cebu visit was the 3rd leg of a nationwide campaign to visit six major PAF bases that include launching the UP UP forum throughout the country. (fcr/pia7)
Source: PIA Feed