Army uses 'gentle persuasion' in bid to foil rebellion in Davao | Inquirer News
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Army uses ‘gentle persuasion’ in bid to foil rebellion in Davao

/ 10:11 AM August 29, 2015

MALITA, Davao Occidental – The Army here now uses “gentle persuasion” aside from conducting combat operations in a bid to defeat communists in its areas of jurisdiction.

Lt. Col. Ronnie Felix Babac, commander of the 73rd Infantry Battalion, said that aside from engaging in clashes with the New People’s Army during combat operations, his men were also busy engaging in dialogues with parents and relatives of rebels and village officials in the provinces of Davao Occidental, Sarangani and portions of Davao del Sur.

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“During the dialogues, we ask their relatives and village officials to convince them to surrender,” he said.

The use of what he termed as gentle persuasion, alongside combat operation, appeared to have been effective.

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Babac said since January, at least 50 NPA rebels had already yielded to his unit.

“We continue to conduct combat operations but our dialogues are also bearing fruits,” he said, adding that NPA Front 75 was now nearly decimated.

Babac said the NPA was also losing support from among the villagers because of abuses and extortion activities.

In July, he said officials of the remote village of Datal Anggas in Alabel, Sarangani passed a resolution formally declaring NPA members as persona non grata.

A copy of the resolution argued that the NPA had committed “deception, extortion and other forms of abuses” against villagers, and that by barring them, officials said they hoped the excesses will stop.

“Tribal chieftains of the village also joined the signing,” he said.

Babac said village officials had told the military they grew tired of the NPA because the rebels would burden even poor residents with “contributions.”

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“The little money they earn from communal farming would go to the rebels because if they did not give in to the demands, they would automatically be branded anti-communists,” he said.

Babac also claimed that fed-up villagers were the now the ones helping the military beat the rebels in Datal Angas.

He cited the March clash in the village, which led to the deaths of seven NPA members, including Tolentino Bariquit, the leader of Front 75.

He said villagers were also helping convince NPA members to surrender amid the peace and development efforts of the Army, which included provision of farm implements.

He said the military continues to call on remaining NPA members to yield and avail of the government’s Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP).

“We are using gentle persuasion but we do not think twice about using force also if they continue to resist and continue with their abuses against the civilians,” Babac said. Eldie Aguirre, Inquirer Mindanao/CDG

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TAGS: Army, communists, Comprehensive Local Integration Program, gentle persuasion, New People’s Army, rebellion
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