Military turns over internal security operations to Mis. Or. LGU

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/21 September) – Today’s celebration of the International Peace Day here was marked by the formal turnover of internal security operations from the Armed Forces of the Philippines to the local government unit of the province of Misamis Oriental.

Governor Oscar S. Moreno said that the turnover was in furtherance of the principle of “civilian supremacy over the military.”

Progressive groups, however, fear that the civil bureaucracy might have been wittingly or unwittingly used in the “militarist”
anti-insurgency policy of the government.

But Department of National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin lauded the Misamis Oriental initiative as the “ideal model of cooperation,
support and unity, between and among our national and local government agencies, the police and military authorities in the fight against the
threat of insurgency and terrorism.”

He added that the main objective of the turnover of the internal security operations is to “free the people of Misamis Oriental from the hardships of insurgency.”

Moreno said that they will address the insurgency problem through improved government services and good governance. “We need to address the root causes of insurgency,” he told Mindanews.

The tactical part of anti-insurgency however remains with the AFP, Moreno said.

Commission on Human Rights Chair Loretta Ann Rosales said that the efforts of the military and the local government  unit of Misamis Oriental is good as it opens a lot of avenues for dialogue.

Progressive groups however are not convinced. As the ceremony was going on, some 200 members of Karapatan-Northern Mindanao assembled at the Press Freedom monument then marched towards C.M. Recto Avenue.

The march was also done in observance of the 28th anniversary of the infamous Marcos Martial Law.

Karapatan Northern Mindanao chairperson Beverly Musni said that the turnover of the internal security operations to the LGU of Misamis
Oriental is all for show and is “certainly bound to fail.”

“It is not a turnover of the internal security operations but it is the cooptation of the civilian authority by the military to
participate in their anti-insurgency operations,” Musni told Mindanews.

“Insurgency is a social problem that needs social solution. The militarist strategy has failed in defeating the armed communist
rebellion ever since its inception in 1969 when there were only about 20 armed rebels. How can this strategy win now?” Musni asked.

She said that unless the government changes its tact in addressing the communist insurgency by addressing decisively issues of justice, human
rights and other socio-political and economic issues, the insurgency problem will remain.

Overall she said, they do not see a change in the government’s anti-insurgency policy with the extension of the Oplan Bantay Laya 2 until Dec. 31, 2010.

Misamis Oriental has long been an arena of armed conflict between the government and the 42-year-old communist insurgency.

The government and the communist rebels have been engaged in an on-and-off peace talks since the fall of the Marcos dictatorship in
1986. (With reports from Roel Catoto/MindaNews)