Four Calinan villages no longer on stranglehold by NPA: army

The army is recommending four barangays to be declared free from New People’s Army influence following months of evaluation.

Meanwhile, Paquibato District, a known hotbed of communist insurgency, has been welcoming business investors in the area.

Speaking in yesterday’s AFP-PNP press briefing, Lt. Col. Darren Comia, the commander of the 16th Infantry Battalion, said they submitted for approval of the Area Clearing Validation Board, composed of different military and civilian agencies, the barangays Megcawayan, Sanoy, Lamanan and Inayangan.

Meanwhile, he said that while they noted a resurgence of investments in Paquibato, they could not yet declare any of the villages there as cleared from NPA influence.

“For now, our efforts are continuous,” he said. “We would like to assure that if we declared an area clear, the barangay can stand alone in terms of security and that there are already development efforts so that it can contain the insurgency problem,” Comia said.

He also said that Paquibato has been enjoying relative peace in the past three quarters because they haven’t seen neither massive rebel movements in the area nor any major clashes.

“The local government unit of Davao City has been giving special attention to Paquibato and it is because Paquibato is the only district that remains to be poor and it’s been left behind compared to the other districts of the city,” he added.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio formed Peace 911, which is a focused development effort of the local government that is piloted in Paquibato.

Yesterday, the City Engineers Office went to Barangay Pandaitan to inspect the area in preparation for the construction of a road connecting the community to barangay Salapawan.

He said Malaysian investors have been looking to put up investments in Salapawan. Another group of Japanese investors are also planning to establish an industrial site in the area.

Three weeks ago, they provided security to representatives of both Globe and Smart during an inspection of the proposed cell sites in Paquibato. One area in the shortlist is Barangay Paradise Embac.

The area of operation of the 16th Infantry Battalion covers the whole area of Paquibato District and other barangays of Upper Calinan.

“We are happy because we’ve always said that sooner or later, they will see the beauty of Paquibato,” he said.

The community support teams of the 16th IB have already been deployed in Paquibato and Calinan. They are there not just to secure the communities but also to provide basic services, and also link the barangays in need of assistance with the proper agencies.

On Tuesday, the 1003rd Infantry Brigade also conducted area clearing evaluation of all affected barangays.

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