DAVAO CITY -- An association of former rebels have received 15 motorcycles from the city government over the weekend, as part of its Peace 911 initiative aimed at providing sustained support for communities formerly influenced by communist rebels.
“These units will be used to complement our efforts in keeping the peace here in Paquibato. I guarantee (residents) that the city government will always be here for you," said lawyer Jonah Margarette Presto, Peace 911 focal person, in an interview on Monday.
Peace 911 is a comprehensive peace-building and development initiative that focuses on peace economy and strengthening people’s organization, good governance and rule of law, identity and healing, strengthening of people's organizations, and helping resolve ancestral domain issues.
Presto said the 120-strong Paquibato District Peace Builders received the motorcycles to "capacitate" them in maintaining peace and order in Paquibato area, a former flash point for New People's Army (NPA) activities.
The group, composed of former communist mass base organization members, was organized trained, and mobilized as peace advocates during the term of former mayor and now Vice President Sara Z. Duterte.
Their objectives include safeguarding cleared areas from re-entry and resurgence of the NPA in communities, and promote government peace programs and initiatives.
Major Gen. Nolasco Mempin, the Army’s 10th Infantry Division commander, underscored the importance of the local officials' support for the government's goal to eradicate armed rebellion in the countryside.
"We are fortunate to have superb sustainment efforts in our counterinsurgency campaign in Davao City led by the city government. Together, let us ensure that the NPA can no longer re-infiltrate not just Davao City but the whole Davao Region," Mempin said in a statement. (PNA)