By: Rodrigo S. Victoria

Naval, Biliran (24 November) – An agreement providing the Internal Security Operations (ISO) to suppress insurgency and other threats in the province of Biliran is set to be finalized between the Philippine Army (PA), Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Provincial Government of Biliran on November 25, 2008 at the Office of the Governor.

The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the Internal Security Operations (ISO) of Biliran Province is a tripartite agreement between the provincial government of Biliran represented by Governor Rogelio J. Espina, Police Regional Office No. 8, Philippine National Police represented by Police Chief Superintendent Abner D. Cabalquinto and 8th Infantry (Storm Trooper) Division, Philippine Army represented by Major General Arthur I. Tabaquero.

The crafting of the MOA on ISO is in line with the National Internal Security Plan (NISP) crafted by the National Security Council to address insurgency and other threats to national security by mandating all concerned agencies to comply and implement the said plan.

It was made clear in the MOA that the province of Biliran is presently insulated from the presence of armed elements of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) thus it needs the delineation of functions and responsibilities of the PNP and AFP in Biliran province.

In the general provision of the MOA, it was stated that the parties affirmed and attested that Biliran province is insulated from CPP armed elements or New People’s Army (NPA) and or a cleared area shall be designated to PRO8, PNP as its operational area for ISO. 8thID, PA shall, however, retain the lead role in all ISO matters in other areas of the region.

In the specific commitments of the parties in the MOA, the 8th ID of the PA is the lead role in all Internal Security Operations in Region 8 and shall ensure the availability of its forces to augment the personnel of PRO8 of the PNP as requested in the ISO in Biliran.

It was specified that the province of Biliran shall provide the necessary operational, logistical and legal support to the PNP and the AFP as the case may be to ensure the maintenance of peace and order in the province.

Part of the commitment of the province is for the municipal and barangay peace and order councils to provide information updates and other requirements to the PRO8 thru the BPPO and its Municipal Police Offices to ensure that the peace and order in the province is maintained and all threats groups to include the CPP/NPA/NDF is denied access to the province.

It was emphasized in the MOA that all parties must maintain close coordination, maximize intelligence sharing and enhance Civilian Military Operation (CMO) activities especially in all stages in the conduct of ISO.

It was clearly stated in the MOA that the agreement shall remain binding irrespective of whoever will be the head of the parties mentioned unless sooner or later repealed or rescinded by a similar agreement or declaration.

The MOA was presented for further comments and recommendations during the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting held at the New Legislative Building located at the provincial Capitol compound attended by some officers and men of the Phil. Army led by B/Gen. Jessie Dellosa, Deputy Commander of the Central Command based in Cebu, Police Sr. Supt. Arcadio B. Lelis of Biliran Police Provincial Office (BPPO), Biliran Governor Rogelio J. Espina together with the provincial board members and members of the PPOC. (PIA-Biliran)

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