By Rodrigo S. Victoria
Naval, Biliran (26 November) — Except for the official signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on the Internal Security Operations (ISO) between the Philippine Army (PA), Philippine National Police (PNP) and the provincial government of Biliran scheduled on December 1, 2008 at the Central Command (CentCom) based in Cebu, the province of Biliran is now declared as a zone of peace and development according to Col. Allan Martin, Deputy Brigade Commander of the 802nd Brigade, 8th ID of the Philippine Army.
The MOA on ISO was finally approved during the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting held at the Governor’s Office on November 25, 2008 after amending and finalizing some provisions of the agreement.
Col. Martin said that the approval of the MOA on ISO is a significant achievement because the province of Biliran is now an insurgency-free province which could also mean that it is now a zone of peace and development.
He informed that people in the province would now feel safe in their community and investors are not hesitant to put their investments here because one important thing they consider most is the peace and order situation of a place.
“A place that is peaceful is a good place for investment and when there is investment, people will get jobs, economic activity will grow and progress and development will definitely be attained,” the Army official said.
He added that one good thing when a place is declared as a zone of peace and development is that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will extend financial assistance to the residents like what she did when the municipality of Hindang in the province of Southern Leyte was declared as a zone of peace and development in 2007
Col. Martin plans to hold lectures on anti-insurgency to members of the PPOC in the province of Biliran in order to strengthen the advocacy on anti-insurgency campaign which later on will be done at the community level.
Intensive information dissemination campaign on anti-insurgency at the community level will help people determine whether the community where they reside is infiltrated by the members of the CPP/NPA, Col Martin said.
The Army official revealed that the province of Biliran is the first among the three island provinces in Central Philippines where a MOA on ISO was approved including the provinces of Guimaras and Siquijor. (PIA-Biliran)