President Marcos Urges Military to Embrace Role as “Peacemakers” Amid Internal Conflict

The military must assume the role of peacemaker while fighting to attain peace, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Friday. Speaking during his Talk to Troops at the Philippine Army’s 401st Infantry Brigade headquarters in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, President Marcos said his government has adopted new approach in tackling internal conflict—encouraging soldiers to become peacemakers while combating groups threatening peace and democracy. PCO Photo
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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. recently addressed the military, calling for a new approach in addressing internal conflicts within the Philippines. During his visit to Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, Marcos emphasized the importance of seeking peace while combating rebel groups. He urged the government forces to become “peacemakers” alongside their role as war fighters.

Marcos acknowledged that the government has adopted a different approach to addressing internal conflicts. While the primary objective remains the defense of the nation, there is an additional dimension to the job – the pursuit of peace. He emphasized the need for the military to actively seek peaceful resolutions to avoid armed conflicts with insurgents.

In his speech at the headquarters of the 401st Infantry Brigade, Marcos also highlighted the importance of supporting government programs that provide livelihood, land, and shelter assistance to rebels who wish to return to the fold of the law. By offering these opportunities, the government aims to reintegrate former rebels into society and promote lasting peace.

The President commended the soldiers for their efforts in improving the security situation in the Caraga Region. He expressed optimism about the progress made, stating that there is a projected target to clear the area of insurgency by the end of the year. Marcos acknowledged the challenging conditions in the region and praised the soldiers for their relentless pursuit of the enemy.

Marcos concluded his address by congratulating the military for their successes and encouraging them to continue their good work. He commended their accomplishments, including the neutralization of 200 communist rebels/terrorists and the seizure of 311 firearms. Out of the 200 rebels, 144 surrendered, 44 were killed, and 12 were captured.

Under the 4th Infantry Division, the troops have played a significant role in facilitating the surrender of 2,596 former rebels since 2021. Approximately 83 percent of these surrenderees have already received benefits under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-Clip). The E-Clip offers financial assistance, livelihood training, firearm remuneration, and housing and education assistance to former rebels.

The relentless campaign by the military has resulted in a reported downtrend in the presence of insurgents in the area of responsibility of the Joint Task Force (JTF) Diamond. The number of rebels has decreased from 437 in the first quarter of 2023 to 312 as of February 15, 2024, marking a decline of 28.6 percent. As a result, two regional insurgent committees, comprising 312 members and 306 firearms, have retreated to the mountains and no longer exert influence over nearby villages.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s call for the military to embrace their dual role as peacemakers and war fighters reflects the government’s commitment to resolving internal conflicts through peaceful means whenever possible. By supporting programs that facilitate the reintegration of former rebels and by relentlessly pursuing the enemy, the military plays a vital role in ensuring the security and stability of the Philippines.

Source: The Manila Times

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