ArchivesFebruary 2011Church, Army to woo masses

Church, Army to woo masses

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Army commanders and Roman Catholic priests from the two provinces of Negros agreed Thursday to continue holding joint outreach programs to win people to the side of the law.{{more}}

Meeting at a local hotel here, the Army and Church officials discussed matters pertaining to peace and security, including development programs.

The 34th meeting, however, of the Church Military Advisory Group (CMAG) was conducted without the presence of the media upon the request of church representatives.

Army commanders from the 303rd and 302nd brigades earlier discussed the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan with peace and development as the centerpiece in winning the hearts and minds of the people, and not through combat operations.

Under Oplan Bayanihan, the Army will continue to conduct outreach programs, medical missions, feeding programs, complement, collaborate, cooperate with government agencies in various activities and other civil military operations, according to 302nd brigade commander Col. Luis Ochotorena.

The paradigm shift started years back with peace and security awareness campaigns in different barangays as well as in school campuses.

Col. Ariel Felicidario, commander of the 1st Scout Rangers Battalion, said this is not what they normally do. “We are still built as warfighters for the government to maintain peace and our mission has not changed.”

On the other hand, 62nd Infantry Batallion commander Col. Eduardo Gubat stressed the importance of CMAG’s existence as a convergence of military and church people in alleviating the condition of residents in the hinterland barangays, and as a check and balance for whatever they do.

However, the Philippine Army is intensifying military operations along with Oplan Bayanihan especially in Northern Negros after clashing with the rebels three times in January this year. (PNA/JFP/Juancho Gallarde)

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