LA CARLOTA CITY – The 1st Scout Ranger Battalion, an elite unit of the Philippine Army trained for guerilla warfare, will actas the “main effort” of the 3rd Infantry Division in the internal peace and security operations in Negros.
Col. Abraham Bagasin, commander of the First Scout Ranger Regiment, however, reminded Scout Ranger troopers who are led by Lt. Col. Rodulfo Ileto, to maintain discipline, citing their zero record on human rights violations, based on reports of the Commission on Human Rights.
“If there is no discipline, for sure, they will never accomplish their mission,” Bagasin, who installed Ileto yesterday as the acting 1st SR Battalion commander, said.
Bagasin supervises four Scout Ranger battalion units, that aredeployed in Basilan, Bicol and Compostela Valley, aside from Negros.
The 1st SR Battalion, which has placed under the operational control of the 3rd Infantry Division, has jointly conducted security operations with the 11th, 47th, 62nd and 79th Infantry Battalions in Negros island, for several years now.
Ileto, who replaced Lt. Col. Ariel Felicidario as 1st SR Battalion commander, said that while he is still in the learning stage, being newly-assigned in Negros, promised to continue the accomplishment of his predecessor, if not surpass it.
Col. Oscar Lactao, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander,also ordered Ileto and Lt. Col. Efren Morados, the newly-installed 62nd IB commander in northern Negros, to continue security patrols, protect the communities, and their people from lawlessness.
“As we do our job, let us not forget the primacy of the peace process and human security,” Lactao said.
“As much as possible, we should have zero collateral damage and no human rights violation,” he added.
The CHR in Negros Oriental, headed by Jess Canete, praised the 1st SR Battalion led by Felicidario for protecting and upholding the principles of human rights, in their peacekeeping efforts in Negros island.
The National Democratic Front had earliercondemned the call of Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to intensify their military operationsto secure what it calls “pro-big landlord-capitalist programs” in Negros Occidental.
In a statement it issued, the NDF-Negros, said Marañon should implement land reform that will strategically address the problems of poverty by creating jobs, income and food security for the majority of the Negrosanons,and not continues “to beat the drums of war.”
Marañon had earlier asked Maj. Gen. Jose Mabanta, newly-installed commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, to reduce the number of armed rebels in Negros, and make it more peaceful.*GPB