Army: No militarization in CSP deployment

(Photo Courtesy of Philippine Army Spearhead Troopers Facebook Page)

By: Jennifer P. Rendon

THE Philippine Army’s 301st Infantry Brigade debunked insinuations of militarization in the deployment of community support program (CSP) teams in the hinterland villages of Panay.

Captain Ruel Llanes, 301st IB Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer, said some groups want to demonize the CSP deployment which only aims to enhance nation-building and countryside development relative to the peace policy of President Rodrigo Duterte.

CSP is a people-centered program which aims to bring peace and development in conflict-affected barangays. It is an initiative of our state forces to bring the government closer to the people through an immediate delivery of basic services especially to grassroots communities.

On Monday, July 22, the Philippine Army and other stakeholders attended the send-off ceremony of nine CSP teams in Calinog, Iloilo.

The CSP teams were deployed to five hinterland villages of Calinog.

During CSP works, Llanes said they first talked with the local government unit (LGU) to gather data.

“We’ll enter the barangay, but that’s with the approval of the village officials concerned,” he said.

Initial talks will also gather elders, youth, and farmers of the community.

A pulong-pulong or town hall forum will be conducted in the community to gather concerns and issues affecting them.

“We conduct a study and it’s supervised by the brigade,” he said.

Lieutenant Colonel Joel Benedict Batara, 61st Infantry Battalion, said the CSP operators serve as facilitators for the stakeholders in the delivery of basic services.

“There are government agencies and non-governmental organizations that are hesitating to enter certain barangays because of the security situation,” Batara said.

He added that they gather the residents’ concerns and analyze the agencies or NGOs that could address the problem.

“But it doesn’t stop there. We would empower them by helping them out through setting up of farmers’ cooperatives and other sustainable livelihood programs,” he said.

Batara stressed the importance of the involvement of the people in the fight against insurgency.

“After all, to solve the insurgency problem, 20 percent is military while the remaining 80 percent will involve the grassroots – from the people itself and other stakeholders,” he said.

As such, Batara said CSP, as a form of militarization, is nothing but a figment of imagination of some people.

“We just want to facilitate the convergence of efforts among the government agencies and NGOs,” he said.

Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) will also join the CSP.

On Tuesday (July 23), 359 cops from Police Regional Office 6 (CSP) completed their CSP training at the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division headquarters at Camp Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz.

Police Brigadier General Rene Pamuspusan, Western Visayas police chief, attended the graduation ceremony.

He urged policemen to be bold, be creative and determined because the march on peace leading to our country’s sustainable development lies in your hands.

“Your role is to sustain the momentum by applying the various approaches you learned in this training,” he said.