Army in COVID-mode; securing NegOr borders

Philippine Army officials in Negros Oriental assured that security forces in Negros Oriental are continuously monitoring the security situation in the province amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Col. Noel Baluyan, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, said that while they are directed to provide support interventions to law enforcement officers in manning the borders of the province, they are also advised to not let their guards down for possible atrocities made by rebel groups.

“While we are on Covid mode, iyong AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), we are also advised not to let our guards down. Here in Negros Oriental, we continue to monitor iyong mga kanayunan natin. We just conduct community security patrol and the monitoring. Continuous naman yun,” Baluyan said.

Lieutenant Col. Ramir Redosendo, 11th Infantry Battalion Commander, said the security situation in their area of operation remains calm at the moment but they are continuously monitoring movements or presence of rebel groups in their area.

“So far, wala pa naman tayong atrocities na na-momonitor sa area. So far so good but it doesn’t mean na magre-relax ang security sector natin together with the PNP. Enhanced pa rin ang intelligence reports natin (So far, we haven’t monitored any atrocities that happened in our area. So far, so good but it doesn’t mean that the security sector together with the PNP will relax. We have enhanced our intelligence reporting),” said Redosendo.

He, however, warned the public about the scheme carried out by alleged members of rebel groups.

“I would like to warn everybody as to what has happened sa ibang lugar, they are instigating the people (against government). Sinasabihan iyong public doon sa barangay na mayroon binibigay na bigas iyong NFA o iyong province, o iyong municipality. Pupunta mga kapatid natin sa baba only to find out later na mayroon mag-rarally doon at sinasama sila sa ganoon (I would like to warn everybody as to what has happened in other places, they are instigating the people against government. They tell the people in the hinterland barangays that the NFA or the provincial, city, or the municipal government is distributing rice. These people will go down from the hinterlands only to find out there is a rally and they will be asked participate in this activity),” Redosendo said.

The Army official urged local chief executives and barangay leaders to verify information related to this matter.

He also instructed army personnel in the ground to verify first with the barangay official if they received information like this before making a move.

Meanwhile, Baluyan also announced that reservists from the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Air Force were placed under the supervision of the brigade to aid in other tasks such as relief operations in view of COVID-19. (By Roi Lomotan/PIA7-Negros Oriental)