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Never Again! Never Forget!

Why does it matter?  Can't we move on? There is a thin line between moving forward and forgetting. The occurrence of collective amnesia did not happen only by mistake or overnight. Correctly remembering what happened during Martial Law is important, especially amidst ongoing conversations that attempt to revise history. While others have made attempts through social media platforms to cement the Martial Law's place in our cultural memory, we have a clear social responsibility to be accountable for our actions and be conscious of its impact on others and in our communities. Truths are learned to be remembered and not to be forgotten. There is nothing wrong with forgiving and moving forward, but what makes things hard to digest is when accountability is neglected. In that case, chances are, Filipinos will find it hard to value, defend, and promote our freedom. To be reminded to #NeverForget does not necessarily mean holding a grudge until our very last breath. It will

CGPA: Army to keep fighting insurgency amid pandemic 

ZAMBOANGUITA, Negros Oriental, Sept. 2 (PIA) -- The military has vowed to continue to fight insurgency in the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said Commanding General of the Philippine Army (CGPA) Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana. 

In a press conference, Sobejana said it is an imperative for the military and the police to put an end to the menace of terrorism and other acts of lawlessness especially in the Mindanao area.

During the Marawi siege, Sobejana was once the commander of the Joint Task Force when Pres. Rodrigo Duterte declared Martial Law as a result of the crisis in Marawi including the island of Jolo, Sulu.

With the recent bombings carried out by two female suicide bombers in Jolo, Sulu, Sobejana highly recommend to declare a Martial Law in the area.

“I have the best understanding of the dynamics of conflict in that part of the region. However, we were able to lower the kidnap victims from 54 to 3, so very significant number. There were a lot of Abu Sayaff surrunderers. Without martial law, we could not easily mobilize the public,” said Sobejana.

With that, CGPA stressed that the Filipino people have nothing to worry about the implementation of the Anti-Terror Bill of 2020 because the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is following the rules to give due respect to human rights, and strictly adhere to the provisions of the International Humanitarian Law.

“With the advent of the pandemic, our job was na dagdagan. We see to it that we allocate forces that effectively support our local government units  in the fight against COVID-19," he added. 

The Philippine Army has been assisting the LGUs in the implementation of the Social Amelioration Program, distribution of food and personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontliners, and border control points, among others.

“We also want to actively participate in the infrastructure projects of the LGUs especially in the ELCAC (End Local Communist Armed Conflict) areas, where we believe that kung saan nag tatapos ang kalsada, nagsisimula ang giyera,” said Sobejana.

“For me, peace means people empowerment in addressing challenging environment. If you want an effective support coming from the people then you need to empower them, you need to capacitate them," he added. 

Sobejana, however, lamented the murder of four Army intelligence operatives.

“Kung hindi napatay yan, we might have prevented the twin explosion in the town of Jolo. It was very unfortunate that our faithful soldiers doing their job were murdered. They were murdered by irresponsible members of the Philippine National Police," he said. 

“I don’t want to generalize so I want to specify the nine members of the PNP that perpetrated the atrocities against our people. We just wanted two things… it came out that there was an overkill, there was a murder. We were able to ferry out the truth because there were some rumors or even accusations that our people were involved in drug trade,” said Sobejana. 

The CGPA said it was cleared by the National Bureau of Investigation that there was no illegal drugs involved in the incident. 

The Army has created a Joint Board of Inquiry to ensure that there would be no repeat of the incident in the future as more mechanisms of coordination between the police and the military have been put in place. (jct/PIA7 Negros Oriental)



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